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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




/J, 



Colo72el Greatheart 



Digitized by tine Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/colonelgreathearOObailiala 



■1/ 



".*;'.- 



Colonel Greatheart 

By 

H. C. BAILEY 



With Illustrations by 

LESTER RALPH 



INDIANAPOLIS 

THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



Copyright 1908 
The Bobbs-Merrill Company 



October 



PRESS OF 

BRAUNWORTH 4. CO. 

BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTER." 

BROOKLYN, N. Y. 






CONTENTS 



CHAPTBR 

How THE World Looked Then 

I The Lady Lepe Meets Twin Brethren 

II The Impertinence of Joan Normandy 

III The Inspiration of Colonel Stow 

IV Colonel Stow Sees His Inspiration . 
V My Lady Lepe Takes Off Her Petticoats 

VI A Person of Importance 

VII Colonel Stow Is Again Inspired 

VIII Upon the Use of a Nose 

IX Concerning the Angel Uriel 

X Cornet Tompkins Snaps^at a Shadow 

XI Colonel Royston Deserts a Lady 

XII Colonel Stow Makes a Mistake 

XIII Mr. Bourne Is Sorry 

XIV Colonel Royston Stays by a Lady 
XV "Why Come Ye Not to Court?" 

XVI Colonel Royston Breaks His Sword 

XVII Ingeminating Peace 

XVIII My Lord Digby Upon Woman 

XIX Newbury Vale 

XX Mistress Normandy Sees a Friend 

XXI Colonel Stow Keeps the Peace 

XXII Lovers' Meeting .... 

XXIII LuciNDA Weeps .... 

XXIV The Home of Lost Causes 
XXV The Surprise of Lucinda 

XXVI Colonel Stow Warns His Friend 



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192 
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205 
213 
220 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTKX PAGB 

XXVII The Lieutenant-General Finds an Honest 

Man 232 

XXVIII At Witney Town 241 

XXIX At Bablockhithe 250 

XXX Colonel Stow Resolves to Laugh . . 257 

XXXI The Commissary General Is Disappointed 271 

XXXII LuciNDA Is Wooed 275 

XXXIII Joan Normandy Plays Proxy . . .281 

XXXIV LucindaIsWed ' 286 

XXXV Colonel Stow Is Shown His Duty . . 293 

XXXVI Colonel Rich Is Interrupted . . .303 

XXXVII The King Turns 318 

XXXVIII Lucinda Is Again an Inspiration . . 329 

XXXIX The King Looks Through His Fingers . 343 

XL A Cavalier Dies 358 

XLI Wife and Maid 368 

XLII The Night Alarm 372 

XLIII Molly Proposes 380 

XLIV Friends 388 

XLV Colonel Stow Is Ready 398 

XLVI Lucinda Is Logical 404 

XLVII Colonel Stow Is Awaked .... 409 

XLVIII A Husband or So 418 

XLIX Colonel Royston Delivers His Soul . 423 

L The Lieutenant-General Speaks . , 434 

LI The Last Inspiration of Lucinda . . 443 

LII Lucinda Goes Out to the Night . . 450 

LIII Colonel Stow Knows Himself , . 453 

LIV Colonel Stow Explains Himself . . 460 

LV The Master of All 466 



Colonel Great heart 



COLONEL GREATHEART 

INTRODUCTORY 

HOW THE WORLD LOOKED THEN 

JERRY STOW admired himself. He was at length 
doing his duty. Also his legs pleased him. 
Through some years he had cherished ambitions for 
those legs and himself, linked with unworthy cir- 
cumstance. Now he was off to the wars and his legs 
in golden silk stockings. 

Before the first beat of manhood in his blood it 
had been plain to him that "he was born to heroic 
matters. He was for alarms and great deeds and a 
white blaze of fame. He must plunge into world 
wars, must win world renown, be a sober Alexander, 
a Caesar of respectability. Now, with the spring 
storms of manhood wild in him, and its first alarm- 
ing wisdom, he had persuaded even a doubting 
father that he was not made to work his life out 
easily in the fat tilth of Stoke Mandeville — was at 
least no use there. He was emancipated from home. 
He was out of the worsted and linsey and into silk 
and brocade. He was off to ride behind the Lion of 

I 



2 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the North and hew himself greatness out of the Aus- 
trian Papists. Dreams were coming true. His legs 
and his soul rejoiced. Life was delectable. And his 
father should be taught to take him seriously. 

There was a wild wind of spring, and blue clouds 
clashed in a gray sky. The daylight was pale, and 
across it the long rampart of hills stood dull black. 
Over the dark green slope that swells slowly to 
Akeman Street the wind smote a scattered army of 
trees, and roared and whistled its anthem. Old 
trunks of silver gray tossed their great black deli- 
cate crests to the wild music, and the poplars, lean 
boughs already gemmed with gold, trembled and 
swayed and cowered. Glad of his strength as the 
wind came Jerry Stow. His brilliant legs bore him 
with a lilt; nostril and eye were wide, eager of joy. 
He seemed even to expect it at once. The sight of 
Sir Godfrey Weston taking the air according to 
custom affected him with instant delight, for Sir 
Godfrey had in hand his daughter. She was then a 
child in her first teens, and, as I infer, can have been 
no more beautiful than any clean, healthy girl, but 
she had, doubtless even so early, gaiety and an air. 
Certainly she was born to be a queen and might have 
made no blunder of it. The least nerve of her was 
keenly alive. She lacked, it may be, something of a 
child's sweet weakness, but, if she asked you nothing, 
she promised much. The quick scarlet lips, her 
valiant eyes, the vivid touch of red in her brown 
hair, were apt already to make men think of their 



HOW THE WORLD LOOKED THEN 3 

manhood. You might guess that it was no more 
than this child that had made an end of the boy in 
Jerry Stow. 

Sir Godfrey Weston, who saw many things if he 
did little, saw this, perhaps. There was something 
of the contempt that made his only amusement on 
the lean pallid face as he stayed before the re- 
splendent Jerry Stow. Jerry saluted him with awk- 
ward profundity. Sir Godfrey put up one finger. 
The child smiled gay: "Good morrow, Jerry," says 
she. "Whither bound?" 

Jerry Stow saluted her all over again. "I am 
glad we are met, my lady," quoth he, purely red, 
"for I am desirous to bid you farewell." 

" 'Tis a most correct sentiment, Stow," Sir God- 
frey agreed. 

Jerry disliked the tone. "I am off to the wars, you 
must know, sir," said he with some magnificence. 
Sir Godfrey raised level eyebrows. 

But the child was delighted. "Truly? Like the 
stories you tell? And will you be long?" 

"I'll not be back in the vale, my lady," says Jerry, 
conscious of golden legs, "till I am somewhat more 
than Jerry Stow." 

Sir Godfrey yawned. He did not appear to think 
the ambition extravagant. 

"But I like Jerry Stow," said the child. 

Jerry Stow appeared to be in some discomfort. 
"I shall make him better worth liking," said he with 
more solemnity than the child required. 



4 COLONEL GREATIIEART 

"You are a fool, boy. Probably God will be with 
you. Come, Lucinda," said Sir Godfrey. 

"But I want to know," the child protested. "Do 
you think they will make you a prince? Or a duke, 
perhaps ? And will you be very rich ?" 

"If I live," said Jerry Stow, with his chest out, "I 
shall win fame. I ambition no more." 

The child looked something of a different opinion. 
Sir Godfrey tapped his chin. "Answer a fool ac- 
cording to his folly, Lucinda," says he pleasantly. 
"Friend fool, ambition much of the world, desire 
much. So shalt thou surely live miserably and in 
misery die. And for the hereafter, happiest are you 
who have known hell here." 

"If I covet honor, sir," cried Jerry Stow, " 'tis in 
an honorable emprise. I would fight for no cause 
but the right." 

"There is none," said Sir Godfrey Weston with 
another yawn. " 'God with us !' roars your Lu- 
theran. 'In the name of the Virgin !' the Papist 
screams. Fool, do you think God such a fool as to 
trust His honor to any man ? There is no cause worth 
a man's sorrow, none whereof the victory is. well 
bought by a man's death. 'Tis in the scheme of 
things no faith shall ever conquer, and thus the fools 
who believe hammer each other out. Your wise man 
stands off from all, believes nothing, as he loves 
nothing and hopes nothing. You have the felicity to 
be a fool. So again, God be with you. You should 
amuse Him. Come, Lucinda." 



HOW THE WORLD LOOKED THEN 5 

This maker of phrases was something beyond 
Jerry Stow. He stood at gaze. The philosophy of 
Diogenes, I take it, was amazing to him even in the 
end. But the child smiled back at him, and he went 
through the wind high at heart. Already he felt 
himself climbing to a nobler estate than was hers of 
birth, beheld himself her worshipped lord. 

Bolder the wind roared, and the blue clouds mar- 
shalled heavy in the grayness. It was dark in the 
beech spinney above the inn, and Jerry, plunging 
across it, caught strange sounds, heard a ghastly 
voice moan from the invisible: "Mine iniquities are 
gone over mine head, my wounds stink and are cor- 
rupt; yea, I go mourning all the day long. ..." 
There came the horrible music of a man's tears. 
Jerry Stow hurried on, ashamed. . . . "Of a truth 
I am the chief, the chief of sinners. O Lord, thou 
knowest. . . . Nay, verily, the Lord standeth up 
to plead. ..." A break of light showed the 
mourner. It was a loose fellow that stood working 
his hands and boring his heels into the ground. 
Jerry Stow saw a sturdy red ridge of nose and a 
coarse fleshy face, swollen and dark. He went on in 
a hurry, for this Mr. Cromwell, cousin of Squire 
Hampden, was thought to be possessed at hours. 
The harsh voice rose higher: "The Lord, the Lord 
will enter into judgment with the ancients of His 
people and the princes thereof: For ye have eaten 
the vineyard, ye beat my people to pieces. The 
Lord shall repay." 



6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Jerry Stow came out of the spinney to meet the 
breaking storm. Quick whirls of snow blinded him, 
and the driven hail cut temple and cheek. All the 
air was a warring medley of ice. 



CHAPTER ONE 

THE LADY LEPE MEETS TWIN BRETHREN 

IT was the year of grace 1643 when Jerry Stow 
made for home again. War called him. Eng- 
land was rent in twain. King stood against Parlia- 
ment, Church against Puritan. The second great 
battle of the free spirit of man against the power of 
the past was begun. For the sternest fighters were 
those who strove to make each man in England mas- 
ter of his own life, captain of his own soul. But to 
the best of their foes it seemed that the war was of 
mad, arrogant fanatics who would sweep away the 
good heritage of England and her divine faith. 
Both were right, it may be, and both wrong, for 
those who are marshalled on the stricken fields of 
the world's fate see no more than the spirit and for- 
tune of their own battalion, know not the true peril 
or the issue of the day. But when the fight is done 
and the peaceful work of death, men see there has 
been no victory and no defeat. The battle-field is a 
furnace whereby all base in either cause is burned 
out till, when the fire dies down, there is left one fair 
faith to be the glory and comfort of all men after. 
But for Jerry Stow and his day the fl,ame was grim. 

7 



8 COLONEL GREATHEART 

If you should make for the vale of Aylesbury 
from a southern port, you would be happy to cross 
the Thames at Wallingford and come like the men 
of old years by the Icknield Way. Then you are 
given the full joy of the woodland hills. By many a 
mile they stand sheer above you in timeless strength. 
Serried ranks of trees rise to the sky, beech and 
larch, that are red and golden yellow in the spring- 
time, then countless quiet glad harmonies of green, 
then a wide flame of crimson and topaz and orange 
before they come to the feathery grace, the black 
and brown and silver of the wintertide. 

The red buds had but just come upon the larch, 
the beeches waved yet in naked beauty when Jerry 
Stow rode by. He came with a companion, with 
state. There were armed followers and led horses 
not ill laden. He had gained something about the 
chest also, and the air and habit of command to set 
off his moustachios. He rode a good horse as it' de- 
served. He was plainly, yet with no parade, the sol- 
dier. Still he preserved his nature. The plain buff 
coat had a touch of original gaiety, a sash of rare 
blue. You behold him now, a trim fellow of the 
middle size, with an honest, wholesome, pale face, 
wherein brown eyes are earnestly glad. His com- 
panion is of larger make, big each way. He too is 
soldierly, but no splash of color mars the neat so- 
briety of him. He is plump of cheek and handsome, 
with lips set in demure mirth. He has the com- 
plexion of a country lass. There is to me much 



LADY LEPE MEETS TWIN BRETHREN 9 

alluring in this Colonel George Royston. So they 
jingled on with their company through the swift 
wanton April sunshine, as proud of life .as the 
thrushes. 

They were close upon the Oxford road where it 
rises through the woodland defile by Aston Rowant 
when they alarmed a lady. It was something of a 
buxom dame that rode with one serving man to her 
train, and rode badly enough. The sound .and the 
sight of men of war behind her made her vacillate 
pathetically. Now she turned to gaze, and, mislik- 
ing them, drove her horse on. Now she looked again 
and liked them better, and fell to her first easy 
pace. Then meditation brought doubt back, and she 
spurred again. But the end of it all was, they came 
upon her before the cross-roads. 

" 'Tis the common vice of woman. She thinks she 
matters to us," quoth Colonel Royston. 

"If she had run away she might have had charm," 
said Colonel Stow, and they drew level. 

The lady was of a fair comeliness. She looked at 
them sidewise. "Are you for the King, gentlemen?" 
says she. 

"He has not that happiness," quoth Colonel Roy- 
ston. 

"For the Parliament, then?" she cried. 

"Nor is the King so unfortunate," quoth Colonel 
Stow. 

"I do not understand you, sir," says she, biting 
her lip. 



lo COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Believe me," said Colonel Royston sweetly, "we 
did not expect it." 

"You resent my questions, gentlemen ?" she cried. 

"Nay, we enjoy the answers," said Colonel Stow 
with a bow. 

"At least, sir, you are in truth no Roundheads ?" 

"The fashion," said Colonel Royston, "is purely a 
discord with my complexion." 

"Which indeed I admire," says she with some 
spirit. 

"I am wholly of the same mind," Colonel Royston 
admitted. 

"Since we are thus in accord," quoth she, "I would 
pray leave to be of your company." 

There was some hesitation. "The honor, mad- 
ame, is ours. But I can not think much pleasure will 
be yours," quoth Colonel Stow. 

"Sir, I am a lone woman — " 

"I'll swear you are not to blame for it," Colonel 
Royston muttered. 

" — and the country hereby is disturbed — " 

"Oh, madame, you shall be protected from any- 
thing but justice," said Colonel Royston with ill 
grace. 

"The woman who gets but justice gets nothing," 
quoth Colonel Stow. 

"Indeed, sir," says she heartily, "I want all you 
can give a woman who can give you nothing. But 
'tis not from justice I would be guarded. This is 
debatable land, and I fear the scum of both armies." 



LADY LEPE MEETS TWIN BRETHREN 1 1 

"I commend your equal condemnation," said 
Colonel Stow. 

"Nay, sir," says she with dignity, "I am heart and 
soul with the King." 

"Why grudge him the body, too?" yawned Colo- 
nel Royston. 

"Sir, he hath all my spiritual part — " 

"That should be a husband?" Colonel Stow in- 
quired politely. 

"Why — why in truth, sir," she spoke through 
laughter — then with some struggling emotion — "my 
husband can not now be with me"' — she made eyes at 
them — "save in my heart." 

"Faith, his tribe should not be at large," Colonel 
Royston agreed. 

"I, gentlemen, am called my Lady Lepe, and — " 

Colonel Royston's bow seemed to offer his compli- 
ments on the name. The two presented each other, 
and my Lady Lepe smiled on them both. She was 
indeed comely, though something much buxom, and 
her eyes pleasantly wicked. 

"I have a friend," she went on, "who is — who is 
more than a sister to me. She is now in sore need, 
and I only can help her. It is to her I ride. My 
way is by Risborough, and if you would see me safe 
there, I — my husband would ever be grateful." 

"I love all husbands," said Colonel Royston with 
enthusiasm. "They are the scapegoats of my sex. 
If, as you suspect, it is a kindness to him to help you 
away from him, command us." 



12 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"I perceive, sir, you tempt fate. Some day you 
will be even such a husband as mine." 

"Your courtship flatters me," Colonel Royston ad- 
mitted, "but is at least forbid by several religions. 
Moreover, to economize in wives were miserly in a 
man." 

"I see that I have to suspect you of morality," 
said the lady. " 'Tis rare in gentlemen who ride 
with an armed tail. And upon that matter — against 
whom are you armed ?" 

"Against the wide world," quoth Colonel Stow, 
and gave a new point to his beard. 

"We fight for ourselves, according to the honor- 
able fashion of High Germany," said Colonel Roy- 
ston. 

"Having learned the same by the side of the great 
Gustavus — " 

"Whom I will ever uphold as the original begetter 
of cavalry tactic, though certainly of a deplorable 
taste in psalmody." 

"Likewise with Bernhard of Weimar, who would 
have been a Caesar if he had ever waited for the in- 
fantry and never for women." 

"Finally with M. de Turenne — " 

"Who is la guerre meme and no gentleman." 

"I applaud your duetto," says the lady with a 
smile. "You are surely twin brethren?" 

"Madame, you insult my friend," cried Colonel 
Royston. 

"Nay, we should like each other less if we were 



LADY LEPE MEETS TWIN BRETHREN 13 

alike," quoth Colonel Stow. "I ever applaud my 
antithesis. Faith, madame, already I feel an affec- 
tion for you." 

"The softness of his heart hath ever betrayed him, 
madame. 'Twas that beguiled him to unworthy 
wedlock with me. 'Tis one with an unmanly desire 
to be a savior." 

" 'Tis one, madame, with an inhuman power to 
laugh at himself," Colonel Stow echoed. 

"In truth, I marked in Jerry a poor relish for 
humor from the first," quoth Royston. "He could 
not see the jest when on the night of Breitenfeld 
some honest Frenchmen were amusing themselves 
with a broken thigh of mine." 

"It is a rudeness to presume the lady interested in 
your legs, George," said Colonel Stow. 

The lady looked at him with some kindness. "And 
since that matter of the legs you have been brothers 
in arms?" 

"Jerry has been so unhappy. With Gustav Adolf, 
with Bernhard — a man of my heart if he had only 
cared to keep alive — with M. de Turenne — till he 
made himself impossible in desiring to hang a gen- 
tleman whom we desired to ransom. We removed 
the gentleman and ourselves, and are here for Eng- 
land to give us the greatness we deserve. Pray, 
madame, how lies England?" (Colonel Royston 
proceeded to get a return for his innocent frank- 
ness.) "How stands the war? Propound us the 
victor." 



14 COLONEL GREATHEART 

The lady bridled. "Victor, sir? It were madness 
to believe that a base mechanic army can stand 
against the gentry of England." 

Colonel Stow put up his eyebrows. Colonel Roys- 
ton whistled a small tune. "Every man of honor and 
blood is with the King!" she cried. 

"Tira lira," said Colonel Royston. "I have heard 
tell that the men of religion are against him, and I 
had rather fight ten men of honor than one with a 
conviction of sin." 

"They are mazed whining Anabaptists," said the 
lady with indignation. "They have never endured 
our charge. And what of our generals? We have 
Prince Rupert, who is the greatest soldier now 
alive." 

She brought their eyebrows up again. Royston 
said something smoothly dubious. With zeal she 
went on. She told them of the wealth and munitions 
of Oxford, the forces there and in the west, and 
gave each army its place. Flaming anew to each 
neat hint of doubt, she told of Rupert and Newcastle 
in the north, and Rupert's new last plan of war: 
how from three sides the Royalists were to close 
upon London and crush that halting generalissimo 
my Lord Essex and put him in the coffin he bore 
always with him, and bring the King in triumph to 
Whitehall. My Lady Lepe had vast and curious 
knowledge of things. . . . 

And she did not note that for all their first un- 
sought eager frankness she was telling them vastly 



LADY LEPE MEETS TWIN BRETHREN 15 

more than she had been told. It was this, perhaps, 
which made Colonel Royston look kindly upon her 
when they halted in Chinnor to bait. "So victory is 
the King's, madame?" said he, with a last skeptic 
smile. 

"Sir," says she vehemently, " 'tis as sure as — 
as — 

"As that you are a woman," quoth he, ki.ssing her 
hand as he took her from the saddle. 

She freed herself swiftly. "Of that, sir, no man 
shall ever be glad, save one." She languished. Her 
bosom heaved admirably. "Him I have in my 
heart," she murmured. 

"I wonder if he is in any other," said Colonel 
Royston, and went in after her, something pensive, 
caressing a moustachio. 



CHAPTER TWO 

THE IMPERTINENCE OF JOAN NORMANDY 

THE "Bird in Hand" was their inn. It was a 
thought excited by Colonel Stow's polyglot 
train. Alcibiade, a plump Picard, dealt plainly with 
the hostler. Matthieu-Marc-Luc (thus called be- 
cause it was ever his task to publish the good news 
of dinner) flurried the cook. In an upper room my 
Lady Lepe stood by a little window of bull's-eye 
glass and watched the hill of larches flush and 
darken beneath the swift cloud shadow and the wind. 
Jerry Stow was at her shoulder. From the chimney 
corner Royston regarded the pair with gentle melan- 
choly. 

"So if we would prosper you bid us fight for the 
King, madame?" quoth Colonel Stow. 

She turned upon him. "Nay, sir, if you be men of 
honor you can seek no other cause," she cried with 
flashing eyes. 

"I am a man of the soil," said Colonel Stow with- 
out emotion. "A king is no more to me than my fel- 
low. If he needs me, let him pay me." 

"Is your honor for hire?" says the lady, fiercely 
scornful. 

i6 



JOAN NORMANDY 17 

Colonel Stow looked at her keenly. "Madame," 
quoth he, "what is't you want most in the world?" 

Royston was surprised by her blush. "I — I — " 
she was in difficulty — "a woman tells that to no man 
but one. Colonel Stow," she said in a hurry. 

Colonel Stow bowed. "To come by what I want I 
must needs win fame and high place. And so I have 
set my life on that." 

"And I mine upon dinner," quoth Royston, and 
fell a-howling- for Matthieu-Marc-Luc, while my 
lady looked on Colonel Stow more kindly. 

"You are no man to fight for canting rebel 
knaves," said she. 

"Fie on it ! All the world cants," cried Royston. 
"Jerry of fame, you of your womanhood, I of my 
belly — which is at least no phantom. May we all 
enjoy them !" 

And then to help him came Matthieu-Marc-Luc, 
lean, imperious and melancholy. His genius yearned 
for a stew, and they had no intellect for it at the 
Bird in Hand. The lady ate admirably, but else 
was not amusing, and Royston and Stow, maturing 
between the herrings and the coleworts a scheme for 
the abolition of the monarchy, psalmody and small 
beer, excited her to no gratifying enthusiasm. They 
were passing from the coleworts to some matter of 
pickled cherries when a chorus of view hallos inter- 
fered. Royston turned languidly. Jerry Stow and 
my lady, mercurial both, started to the window. 

An uncomely throng surged down the village 



i8 COLONEL GREATHEART 

street. It was a tangled knot of green horsemen 
foaming on one lean wretch afoot. He had the 
shorn head of the Puritan, the bands and black gown 
of the minister. He was protesting in vehement 
screams from the Hebrew prophets. But the pack of 
gallant horsemen drove him on with mocking wanton 
cruelty. 

Colonel Stow was stiffening in each limb. "Pah, 
'tis no more than a whining Presbyterian," quoth my 
Lady Lepe, and turned away. 

"If all parsons were in Heaven, the world would 
be better," Royston yawned; but he kept grave eyes 
upon Colonel Stow, who stood still and tense by the 
window. 

The horsemen drew up by the inn and, tumbling 
down about their quarry, dragged him into the tap- 
room. Thence came a weird, lurid din of drinking 
song and lewd oath, mingled with the threats of 
scripture. 

Colonel Stow, a thought paler, sat down to the end 
of his dinner. "Who are the gallants in green?" he 
asked. 

"My Lord Goring's regiment," says my lady at 
once, and Colonel Royston looked from under his 
eyelashes. 

Colonel Stow ate pickled cherries with determina- 
tion, while below the medley of ill sound endured. 
... It was broken by a new note. Colonel Stow 
cocked his head to one side. A girl was sobbing. 
"Some one cries while I dine," said he. "It is an 



JOAN NORMANDY 19 

impertinence." And he pushed back his chair and 
went out 

My Lady Lepe looked out of the window : " 'Tis 
only a puling Puritan wench," she said with con- 
tempt, 

"Madame," says Colonel Royston, who was buck- 
ling on his sword, "your womanly sentiments per- 
petually delight me," and he followed his friend. 

He found Colonel Stow at the foot of the stair sur- 
veying circumstance with equable brow. Beside the 
tap-room window a girl wept, and Alcibiade, his 
plump master of the horse, and the lean Matthieu- 
Marc (who had a rival repute as squire of dames) 
imparted consolation in several languages. But mine 
host of the Bird in Hand and some cronies stood 
aloof ,and jeered. Colonel Stow came to her. "Your 
weeping, madame," says he, "makes the ungodly re- 
joice." 

She looked up at him. She was not of the women 
who are beautiful in tears. She tried to speak to 
him, and made a miserable ridiculous gulp. 

" 'Tis very proper in you to say so," Colonel Stow 
admitted. "But you need not say it again. I am 
now in charge of the affair. Come with me." 

She touched his arm with timid trembling fingers. 
The brutal din from the tap-room rose louder. "My 
father !" she gasped. 

"Yes, but you are in the way," said Colonel Stow 
gently. "Come." 

Faltering, doubting — but his placidity was with 



20 COLONEL GREATHEART 

power — she let him convey her, sobbing, to the door 
and up to that room where my Lady Lepe sat 
yawning. 

"Madame," quoth Colonel Stow, "you can be 
kinder here than I," and led the weeping girl to her 
side. 

My Lady Lepe shrank back in disgust that seemed 
to be blended with some fear. "What have I to do 
with the wench ?" she cried. 

"Your womanhood, madame, was not made only 
for men," said Colonel Stow, and left them together. 

The girl looked at my Lady Lepe with a most 
miserable wet face, and my Lady Lepe flushed and 
stood staring at her mighty awkward. 

Colonel Stow came again to the door of the inn. 
Standing upon the cellar flap outside the tap-room, 
he reviewed the position. Mine host rolled up to him 
frowning: "Sir," he growled, "be you a Round- 
head?" 

Colonel Stow began to smile. "Your humor has 
attracted me," he remarked, "and yet you do not 
amuse me. Is not that melancholy?" 

"I say, sir," the fellow roared, "be you a Round- 
head?" 

"If I were," said Colonel Stow sweetly, "I could 
not be doing what I am. And yet if I were not to be, 
it is strange that I should seek to be doing what I 
shall soon have done." 

"And look you," quoth Royston, tapping mine 
host's puzzled shoulder, "though he be not what he 



JOAN NORMANDY 21 

might be in what he does, yet we know that what he 
has done may be no proof of what he can be. 
Wherefore we do all hope for salvation." Then 
they both bowed to mine host — who had taken a step 
back, and stood gaping. 

Colonel Stow took Royston's arm and turned him 
to the tap-room. "Go in, George. Make them 
happy," said he. Their eyes met for a moment. 
Royston plunged at the door and went in with a 
flourish and a snatch of song. 

The drinkers of beer 

Did ne'er yet appear 
In matters of any weight ! 

'Tis he whose design 

Is quickened by wine 
That raises things to their height. 

He was opportune. The sport of the tap-room had 
grown keen. The Royalists would have the minister 
sing for them a lewd song of Davenant's against his 
church. He steadfastly denied them, and already 
they had a knotted cord about his temples. Colonel 
Royston, as he relates, proffered to show them how 
that torture was done in High Germany. 

Outside, "Alcibiade, my friend," says Colonel 
Stow, "I am waiting for my horses." Alcibiade 
bounded to the stable, but was arrested in mid-air by 
an order in French. Thereafter he bounded again. 
Mine host and his lounging friends guffawed. 



22 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Stow took Matthieu-Marc by the elbow 
and walked him through the village till they came 
to the smithy. "Matthieu," says he, "buy me two 
pounds of tenpenny nails and borrow me a hammer 
withal." 

"The nails — of tenpenny," Matthieu-Marc repeat- 
ed, and his lean jaws halted wide asunder. 

While Matthieu-Marc turned into the smithy 
Colonel Stow continued to walk at a gentle gait 
down the road. His eyes wandered and appeared to 
admire the cowslips and the speedwell. Coming back 
to the inn with his nails and his hammer, Matthieu- 
Marc found Alcibiade waiting by the tap-room door. 
A moment after Colonel .Stow came running, 
in much agitation. At sight of him Alcibiade 
heaved up the cellar flap and flung it full wide. 
Mine host was moved to wrath thereby, and lum- 
bered at Alcibiade, growling: " 'Od rot it! What 
be doing, Frenchman?" Alcibiade, who was a man 
of action, said nothing, but smote with power. Mine 
host was engulfed. In the same moment he was and 
was not. From the depths he complained. Colonel 
Stow by that had his head in at the little tap-room 
window and shouted breathless : "George, the 
Roundheads are on us ! Alarm the gentlemen ! The 
Roundheads are on us ! A regiment of horse !" 

"Plague 'found them !" Royston roared, flinging 
down the cord in which he was making artful knots. 
"Saddle, gentlemen, saddle!" 

The gallant gentlemen of Goring's horse tumbled 



JOAN NORMANDY 23 

through the door in a heap, Royston agitating from 
behind, and in a heap with frantic oaths vanished 
into the darkness of the cellar. Alcibiade slammed 
down the flap and stood on it. Matthieu-Marc swung 
his hammer and drove the long nails home. Under- 
ground the noise was confused. 

"You are as neat as Providence, Jerry" said Roy- 
ston. 

"I should like to see them come out," Colonel Stow 
admitted. "But one can not have everything. It is 
time for us to go. Slit their horses' girths, Alci- 
biade," and he ran up-stairs to collect the women. 

Royston escorted his amazed minister to horse. 
"You had best ride with us, parson," said he. "They 
would doubtless like to see you again, but one must 
be selfish at times." But the minister was dazed to 
dumbness. 

With him mounted on one of the led horses, with 
his daughter up behind Colonel Stow, they rode 
away. The loungers of the inn yard showed some 
timorous ill will, my Lady Lepe no timorous disgust 
at the turn of affairs, but neither affected the tran- 
quillity of Colonel Stow. They had drawn clear of 
the village when the minister recovered speech. 
"Sir," says he to Royston, "I deemed you a man of 
Belial, and by the grace of God you have wrought 
me a great deliverance. Pray, who are you ?" 

"I wonder if you have helped us to find out," said 
Colonel Royston. 



CHAPTER THREE 

THE INSPIRATION OF COLONEL STOW 

COLONEL STOW saw a full troop more of 
Goring's green horsemen coming down on the 
village from Thame, and quickened his pace. 

"You are well out of that parish, parson," quoth 
Colonel Royston, "and it will be some while before 
you are in it again." 

The minister plainly cared nothing for that, noth- 
ing for the home he could not save. Never a man 
grieved less for worldly ruin. There was a wild joy 
in his eyes. He was throbbing with some glad spir- 
itual orgasm. After a while he lifted up his voice 
and made a joyful noise. At once Colonel Royston 
regretted his salvation, and my Lady Lepe snorted 
at him. But the minister saw nothing, heard noth- 
ing in this world but himself. 

Had not the Lord been on our side 

May Israel now say ; 
Had not the Lord been on our side 

When men rose us to slay ; 
They had us swallowed quick when as 

Their wrath 'gainst us did flame; 
Waters had covered us; our soul 

Had sunk beneath the stream. 
24 



THE INSPIRATION OF COLONEJL STOW 25 

And many more verses came before he broke off 
with the jerk of his beginning and, "Sir," he cried, 
"the hand of the Lord is in this. The Lord will not 
suffer me to dwell in peace lest I wax fat He hath 
appointed me my portion otherwhere. I will go ride 
with the host and minister unto them till they that 
persecuted the saints be cast down and this poor 
land's iniquity purged away. 

'He that In Heaven sits shall laugh ; 

The Lord shall scorn them all. 
Then shall He speak to them in wrath, 

In rage He vex them shall.' " 

My Lady Lepe made a noise that resembled a pro- 
fane oath. Then, observJhg Colonel Royston moved 
to gentle mirth and the minister's keen eyes set upon 
her, she blushed notably. 

"Father," — from behind Colonel Stow came a pit- 
iful voice, — "father, shall we not win home again?" 

"Nay, the Philistines are upon us. We are cast 
out. We are wanderers upon the earth. Let God's 
glory be magnified thereby." I can conceive that 
Colonel Royston admired the man's contempt of all 
ease. For himself was not made like that. 

"It is hard," the girl murmured. 

"Blessed are they that are persecuted for right- 
eousness' sake. Let us give thanks that we are ac- 
counted worthy to suffer. Yet my heart is woe for 
my poor sheep in Chinnor left without a shepherd." 



26 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"They might have come to aid us," the girl com- 
plained. 

"You had perhaps sung to them," quoth my Lady 
Lepe sourly. 

Again she drew the minister's eyes, but met them 
now with a haughty contempt. He turned in dignity 
to Royston. "Sir, I am John Normandy, a poor 
servant of God and preacher of the Word. In whose 
company am I ?" 

"Myself am George Royston, who serve no one 
but myself. My friend is Colonel Stow, who serves 
all men better than they deserve. And this is my 
Lady Lepe, who serves her husband by her absence." 

It was my Lady Lepe who consumed the minis- 
ter's attention. With his deep keen eyes on her — 
and indeed she rode ill — "Pray, whither are you 
bound?" he asked. 

Colonel Stow answered for her: "We make for 
Risborough, and thence Stoke Mandeville." 

That second name was news for my Lady Lepe, 
too. It seemed to Royston that both she and the 
minister were moved by it. The minister turned to 
Royston. "Prithee, a word apart," and Royston's 
demure mirth growing more determined, he spurred 
on ahead with him. Colonel Royston foreboded 
events, and events to him v/ere all amusing. "I 
would be plain with you," says the minister, out of 
earshot of the rest. "From your service to me I 
judge you children of light. You have surely no 
kindness for malignants?" 



THE INSPIRATION OF COLONEL STOW 27 

Colonel Royston felt a confidence impending. He 
made himself smooth. "Sir," says he, "inquire of 
the gentlemen in the cellar." 

"It was a godly deed," said the minister naively. 
"Sir, I doubt not your honesty. Prithee, how came 
this woman of your company ? Know you aught of 
her?" 

Colonel Royston looked under his eyelashes. But 
his tone was of pure virtue : "When a woman asks 
protection of man through a disturbed country, what 
man can deny her?" 

"Hark in your ear!" the minister came close. 
"What surety have you that she be .a woman?" 

Colonel Royston, who had a reasonable confidence 
that she was not, exhibited all decent distress. "You 
alarm me. You appal me. But this is surely a jest. 
Sir, it does not become your office." 

The minister was gratified. "Sir, you are a man 
of conscience. Believe me, I jest not. What men 
dare do men must reprove." 

"It is indeed a grateful task and savory," Royston 
agreed with unction. 

"Know then, sir, there is at Stoke Mandeville a 
Moabitish woman men call Lucinda Weston." The 
minister, consumed with righteousness, did not mark 
the shift of Colonel Royston's eyes. " 'Tis well 
known that she hath been commonly visited from 
Oxford by a malignant who comes in the clothes of 
a woman that he may be safe from the godly armies 
at Aylesbury and Wycombe. I do notify you, sir, I 



28 COLONEL GREATHEART 

suspicion that you have this sinner in your com- 
pany." 

Colonel Royston was perhaps as shocked as he 
seemed. "And this Mistress Lucinda Weston," says 
he gravely, "what may be her relation with the gen- 
tleman ?" 

"Sir," quoth the minister severely, "let us pray to 
be preserved from the imagination of ill." 

"By all means," Colonel Royston agreed, "but life 
will become dull." 

" 'Tis said they are betrothed," said the minister 
with a sigh. 

"This innocence disheartens." 

"Sir, I opine no good thing of a man thus un- 
seemly disguised." The minister cleared his throat 
for a sermon. 

Colonel Royston intervened in a hurry. "Yet 
many men would be harmless women," quoth he. 
"And some wearing women comfortable men. 'Tis 
sorrow one can not change the sex with the breeches. 
If husband could be wife,, wife husband by turns, 
how would conjugal felicities be multiplied." Then, 
seeing that the imminent sermon was fairly over- 
whelmed, he broke off. "But I meddle with the 
creation. I go astray. Pray, sir, where are you 
going?" 

The minister plainly found the agility of Colonel 
Royston's mind distressful. He breathed heavily. 
"Sir," says he, "I have it in mind to go to Aylesbury. 
I have a friendship from of old with godly Master 



THE INSPIRATION OF COLONEL STOW 29 

Skippon, the sergeant major general, and will pray 
his aid in my mission to be one of them that minister 
to the host Yea, and moreover, I will bear them 
tidings of this malignant that rides in a woman's 
coats." 

There was something of admiration in Colonel 
Royston's face as he surveyed the minister. He ever 
loved men who made him busy. "Sir," says he, 
"you are a refreshment. I am vastly the better of 
you already. You make me rejoice in the construc- 
tion of life." 

Whereat the minister was moved to spiritual song: 

Praise ye the Lord ; for it is good 

Praise to our Lord to sing, 
For it is pleasant; and to praise 

It is a comely thing. 

The sunlight flashed and changed about them. 
Fleets of white cloud were speeding across the blue, 
mingling now, now parting and driving on to the 
mellow lucid eastern horizon. Meadows wrought 
with the full gleam of the cowslips shone pale gold. 
Beneath the white flame that clothed the thornbrake 
the banks were all blue with speedwell. From the 
splendor of the hawthorn, from the wide, bare 
branches of the swaying oak and high in the utter 
glory of the sunlight rose the music of the great har- 
mony of springtime. All the live warm air rang 
with joy. 



30 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Behind Colonel Stow's back a small voice spake : 
"Sir, are you a soldier?" 

"At least I am nothing else," said Colonel Stow, 
and turned in the saddle to smile at her. I can not 
find that she was beautiful beyond the ordinary. 
Colonel Royston has called her a wholesome piece of 
red and white. But I think he never loved her. She 
was small, yet of a gracious fullness of form. There 
was too much of her hair to be neatly ordered, and 
with the light through it it glistened like gold. 
Colonel Stow saw a grave honesty in her gray eyes. 
Purity encompassed her, seemed indeed her very 
self, yet you would not doubt her in fullness a 
woman. 

"Are you upon the Lord's side?" she said simply. 

"I shall know when I die," said Colonel Stow. 

"Ah, but now — now is the accepted time!" she 
cried, and then blushed and was shy. "Pray, sir, 
what are you ? Of what faith ?" 

"I am a great man in the making," quoth Colonel 
Stow. 

The honest eyes grew in na'ive wonder and fear of 
evil. "In what way great, sir?" 

Colonel Stow was ready enough to explain. 
"Madame, what a man can do, I can do better. What 
a man fears, I fear not. When a man despairs, I am 
full of heart And with a lost cause I conquer." 

"Child," says my Lady Lepe, "we have mistook 
the gentleman, who is surely God." 

But the round face against Colonel Stow's shoul- 



THE INSPIRATION OF COLONEL STOW 31 

der was exceeding grave, "Sir, are you with us or 
against us ?" she said severely. 

"I am both. I am neither," said Colonel Stow 
blandly. "And thus secure entertainment." 

Joan Normandy gave a little gasp of horror. 
"Then do you not believe anything?" she cried, 
shrinking as far as she could in safety from those 
broad infidel shoulders. 

Colonel Stow turned in the saddle smiling. "I be- 
lieve that I can be great, and I take the part that 
helps me to greatness. If I choose the King, I will 
believe desperately in his cause. Now I believe in 
it as little as you." 

"Then — then" — she struggled with this strange, 
horrible scheme of life — "then what is'tyou live for? 
Why do you seek to be great ? Have you no faith to 
guide you at all ?" 

"Ay, madame, the faith and worship of a most 
admirable lady," said Colonel Stow, with kindling 
eye. 

"But sure, sir, she would have you not great, but 
righteous and true," the girl cried. 

Colonel Stow looked at her with wise, mirthful 
eyes. "Is that a woman's way, mistress?" said he. 

"Ay, sir, indeed. 'Tis the great, great pride of a 
woman to help a man to righteousness." 

My Lady Lepe surveyed the girl with some con- 
tempt. "Some man is to have a melancholy life, I 
see," quoth she, and the girl blushed painfully. 

Colonel Stow laughed. The wars had educated 



32 COLONEL GREATHEART 

him. "The best of us dislike redeemers, child," said 
he, "even in petticoats. You bear too hard on the 
world. No cause is all of God, none all of the devil. 
If I fight for this or that with equal heart, I know 
myself no villain. What matters to the world is that 
the men who can should rule and school the rest to 
comfortable life. I am born for that. I grip at 
place and wide power to have men the happier for 
me. Men must be mastered, and I can do it — to 
mine honor, which is the honor of my lady." 

"Does she know you talk so?" said the girl in a 
low voice of awe. 

"There is nothing in my thought for which she 
need feel shame, madame. It was the fashion once 
for a soldier to wear his lady's riband upon his 
morion. I bear my lady's colors in my soul, and live 
by her spirit. She hath been my inspiration since I 
had body or mind to go my own way. She hath 
command of every part of me. She is very queen in 
all her being. She is of a divine beauty, yet 'tis not 
the beauty of her that I worship. She — " 

My Lady Lepe yawned audibly. "Perhaps, sir, 
this might delight the lady more than us. I hope so." 

Colonel Stow flushed like a boy. "Madame, if 
you knew her, you would despise the weakness of my 
praise. 'Tis Mistress Lucinda Weston of Stoke." 
He spoke as who should say "the Queen of Heaven 
is my love," and with shining dazzled eyes looked 
right on through the sunlight. 

My Lady Lepe was smitten with pallor. "Is the 



THE INSPIRATION OF COLONEL STOW 33 

lady aware of your devotion?" she said, and her 
voice was strained and strange, so that Colonel Stow 
turned to her. "I — I have some acquaintance there," 
she explained swiftly. 

"I am her sworn servant since she was a child," 
said Colonel Stow, "and thrice in ten years of war I 
have snatched the time to see her, and each time 
known her more worthy worship. But she is known 
to you, madame. Is she not more noble far than I 
tell you?" 

"You can scarce expect a woman to say so," said 
my Lady Lepe sourly. 



CHAPTER FOUR 

COLONEL STOW SEES HIS INSPIRATION 

COLONEL STOW heard with alarm that my 
Lady Lepe was bound for Stoke Manor. "Ma- 
dame," says he in agitation, "you spoke of a lady in 
sore need. Is Mistress Weston distressed or ill 
bested?" 

"I said she was in need of me," my Lady Lepe 
snapped. 

Colonel Stow bowed and begged the honor of 
being her escort. My Lady Lepe, who had no means 
of denying, said with an ill grace something polite. 

Bearing away from the hills as the sun sank upon 
a troubled sea of gold and gray, they came by heav- 
ier roads to the dark, blue-green meadows, the 
brown tilth of the vale. Colonel Stow breathed deep 
the unforgetable, grateful scents of home. There 
was blood in his cheeks, and again and aga.in his eye 
gleamed for a hedge-row, a tree of memories. 

All the way Royston and his minister, checking 
and checking again, dropped slowly back to them. 
Both were concerned to see what my Lady Lepe 
would do when they came to the dark files of elms 
that led off the highway to Stoke Manor. She made 

34 



HE SEES HIS INSPIRATION 35 

no mystery. She had no suspicions, and was in a 
hurry. With a bow and a "Good morrow, sir. Good 
morrow, your reverence," she turned short off. 

Colonel Stow halted and swiftly set Joan Nor- 
mandy down — who was surprised, and stood there 
looking at him, like a child alarmed by some adult 
wickedness. 

"You know the homestead, George," he cried. 
"Commend these good folk to my father. I will be 
with you in an hour," and he was off after my Lady 
Lepe. 

Colonel Royston, having with grace assisted Joan 
Normandy up behind him, found her father regard- 
ing him severely. "Ay, sir," said he with a shake 
of the head, "your melancholy anticipations have 
been gratified. I congratulate you on your worst 
suspicions." 

The minister frowned. "Pray, sir, why does your 
friend company the malignant ?" 

Colonel Royston was never prodigal of the truth. 
"Why, sir, consider. He deems the creature a lady, 
and 'tis but common courtesy to be her escort to the 
end." 

"Is he thus beguiled?" the minister questioned. 

"I would never trust the man that can not be de- 
ceived," said Royston, who himself, I take it, saw 
always very clearly. 

Colonel Stow and my Lady Lepe, neither, I doubt, 
much liking the other, made great speed to the 
Manor; and I wonder if Mistress Lucinda Weston 



36 COLONEL GREATHEART 

liked either when they surprised her in her garden 
in an aged, faded, dark gown. She checked her walk 
and stood like a queen, cold and proud, gazing at 
them full. 

" 'Twas she alone," says my Lord Digby in an 
intimate letter, "that converted me to an admiration 
of slight women. She was cleanly, straight as a 
pine, lithe as a willow sapling, yet with a hundred 
graces of allure." She was other than beautiful, as 
I judge. She gave a man challenge by the fullness 
of her life. Her charm was in strength. She had 
the wide, fearless eyes of a boy. The warm splen- 
dor of her hair, the full lips near scarlet, were vivid 
of passionate will. 

Colonel Stow, whose face was very pale, whose 
heart at wild work, bowed before- her to half his 
height. My Lady Lepe sped to her and caught her 
breast to breast and kissed her. The blood was flow- 
ing in Colonel Stow's brow at that. But Mistress 
Weston freed herself from the embrace all composed 
and fair of cheek. "Good morrow, child," says she. 
"It is kind in you to come." My Lady Lepe, who 
was red and something disordered, circled her with 
an arm again. She permitted, but was more con- 
cerned in Colonel Stow, who stood rooted to the 
ground and dumb. "This is a friend from of old," 
she said, and he saw that strange, wise smile of hers 
that ever made his heart check and throb. "It was 
Major Stow last. What now? Colonel, or Baron 



HE SEES HIS INSPIRATION 37 

of the Empire, or Knight of the Fleece?" and she 
held out her hand. 

Colonel Stow went upon one knee to kiss it, and 
she leaned back in my Lady Lepe's arm at ease. 
"Colonel Stow, madame," says he, "and always your 
most true and humble servant." 

"Tell him how he has served you in bringing you 
me, Lucinda," quoth my Lady Lepe, and appeared 
to find the position humorous. 

" 'Tis you should reward him for that, child," 
said Lucinda demurely, and made herself more com- 
fort in my Lady Lepe's arm. 

My Lady Lepe royally presented Colonel Stow 
with her hand, who kissed it in turn. "I have been 
honored by my task, madame," says he. 

"I wonder," says my Lady Lepe in soft mirth. 

Colonel Stow, who saw nothing mirthful, turned 
to Lucinda. "But Mistress Weston, madame has 
told me that you are in need. If I can avail, I am 
utterly at your command." 

"Nay," quoth my Lady Lepe, "Lucinda needs 
only me," and therewith embraced her closer. "Is't 
not so, child?" They looked in each other's eyes 
and laughed. Then my Lady Lepe smiled upon 
Colonel Stow. 

Colonel Stow bowed. "It is well, madame. I will 
pray leave to wait on you again." 

"Sir, you are always pleasing," quoth Lucinda, 
and Colonel Stow went away mighty well content. 

Guarded from the road. by. a. great hedge of yew 



38 COLONEL GREATHEART 

and a noble orchard, close the homestead of Broad- 
fields stood. Its red walls and roof were mellowing 
with lichen, and in the last sunlight it glowed like a 
house of jewels behind the white glory of the blos- 
soming trees. Across the gate a man of some years 
was leaning. Hair and small beard had come near 
white, but his cheeks were like a russet apple, and 
his eyes wide and clear and bright. He held up his 
hand to his son, and Colonel Stow swung to the 
ground, and with arms linked, silent, they walked to 
the house. Colonel Royston, boots and buff coat laid 
aside, lounged with a long pipe in the doorway and 
surveyed them benignly. 

"Well, well," said the father, as one who recalls 
himself from the extravagance of emotion. . . . 
"And so you have brought a maid home with you at 
last, Jerry?" and the brown cheeks wrinkled hu- 
morously. 

"A maid in love with righteousness, so doomed to 
die a maid. Have you heard her story, sir ?" 

"Ay. God save all children, for I think all par- 
ents be mad. This fellow has not been in enough 
turmoil to-day, but is off to the army at Aylesbury, 
and hath left her here to weep by herself a night. A 
simple, clean maid, too, Jerry," says the artless 
father. 

"Why, sir, simple more than enough — and clean 
more than enough, too." 

"Well, you ever took more pepper to your meat 
than L Come in, lad, and we'll to supper before 



HE SEES HIS INSPIRATION 39 

George Royston here has spoiled his stomach with a 
pipe. Man is not pig, say I, that he should be better 
smoked." 

"Why, sir, I am much like bacon," said Royston. 
"The friend of man, but no love of the ladies." 

"Proper enough for a married man, but dull life 
for a bachelor. Well, and what will you have for a 
whet ? Pickled eels, or something of a smoked neat's 
tongue, or a taste of the new Dutch salad?" 

They were in the hall of the homestead, a broad, 
low room, all dark oak, with candles bright in pewter 
sconces, and a fragrant pine log red and gray on the 
hearth. Soon they made a little party at the head of 
the long table, with serving men and maids heartily 
busy below the salt. Joan Normandy, on Mr. Stow's 
right hand, too shy to speak, too shy to see anything 
but her platter, was plied in vain with many good 
things, till, when she would taste neither turkey pie 
nor a porridge of veal and plums, the men despaired 
and let her be, respecting grief so potent. They were 
dallying with the apples and cheese and strong ale, 
and the serving folk all off to bed, and a pipkin of 
sack-posset hissing comfortably upon the hearth, be- 
fore Mr. Stow had a mind to speak of what he felt. 
Royston watched him look at his son, and knew a 
strange pang of loneliness. "And have you had your 
fill of war now, Jerry ?" says he. 

Colonel Stow laughed. "I am back for a bigger 
meal of it, sir. You have a war here that gives one 
appetite." 



40 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"It gives me the stomach-ache," said his father. 
"Because a king wants to be God, and Parliament 
men want to .be kings, honest lads that might be 
raising good wheat and good children go goring 
one another like mad cattle — pah! Well, well! 
There was something left out of me that is in you 
and your brother. I want nothing that I would 
make men die for." 

"David, sir?" cried Colonel Stow. "Is he turned 
soldier?" 

"I'gad, he is turned saint, too, which is more 
trouble. He hates a bishop as I do the fly on the 
turnips, and conceives he'll make an end of them, 
which I do not. He is the major of a sweet company 
that pray like old women and fight like butchers, 
with a pragmatical preaching lawyer Ireton to their 
colonel. Oons, Jerry, I hope you are no saint, at 
least. It balks a man with his dinner." Then sud- 
denly the good man remembered the girl at his side. 
"Nay, my dear, I mean naught against you or your 
worthy father. 'Tis a parson's trade to be precise 
and godly, and we like him the better. And a woman 
Is the comelier for standing above a man. You are 
as sweet as a nosegay at table. But a man likes some 
ease for himself." 

She blushed ; she was daintily shy, trying to find 
words. "Nay, please, oh, please, do not talk of me. 
But sure, sir, 'tis a man's duty and great joy to live 
and die for the glory of God." 

"Ay, my dear, and I know no better way of it than 



HE SEES HIS INSPIRATION 41 

to grow good wheat and good children for God's 
world." 

"Ah, but there is faith," the girl cried, her eyes 
shining. "We are naught without that. The true 
faith — we must hold it and preach it in word and 
deed, if by any means we can save people." 

"Eh, little maid, little maid, I can never be so sure 
my neighbor is lost. If he does fairly I'll not quar- 
rel with his faith, or bully him into mine, or kill him 
to save my soul. Well, well. I am too easy for the 
times, I think — like cider of a frosty day. If you 
like strong wine, here is Jerry, who would set all the 
world by the ears if he could be general of half. 
What, lad, you would still be great or nothing, eh?" 

"The man who is not great is nothing," said 
Colonel Stow. 

"Now, I think something of the little man who 
can hoe a clean row," said his father. "Eh, well, 
it is good to have fire in your belly, and good, too, to 
have burned it out. You will be blazing some while 
yet, Jerry." He cocked a wise eye at his son. "Still 
for Mistress Weston ?" 

"Till the end of time, sir." At the assurance his 
father was swiftly so melancholy that Colonel Stow 
was alarmed. "Pray, sir, what ails her?" he cried. 

His father faltered. "Why, no ill for herself, but 
ill for you, lad. She is betrothed to a young gentle- 
man out of Berkshire. One Gilbert Bourne, a cap- 
tain of the King's. He comes to her dressed in a 
woman's coats to cheat the Puritan patrolmen. And 



42 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Jerry, lad, I doubt not it is he you brought her to- 
day." 

The wound was kindly given in one clean stroke. 
Colonel Stow leaned back and shaded his eyes with 
his hand. Then Joan Normandy, though indeed it 
could be no blame of hers, blushed painfully, and 
Mr. Stow, looking anywhere but at his son, saw that 
her brown hands were clenched till the knuckles 
glistened white. In a moment she rose, made her 
curtsy and fled away. Colonel Stow did not see, 
did not hear Royston making swift, facile talk of the 
spring sowing. He was groping breathless in a 
world from which the light and air of hope had been 
torn away. He did not perceive that he had been 
wronged. That the false my Lady Lepe had dealt 
with him unhandsomely; that Lucinda had borne 
part in an ignoble mockery of him — these matters 
passed him by. The impulse of his life was sud- 
denly dead. He was afraid. . . . 

The rhythmic clatter of ordered horsemen broke 
upon him. He started up pallid. "Who goes?" he 
cried fiercely. Royston laid a hand on his arm. The 
sound came nearer and passed, while the two sol- 
diers listened keenly. "A troop. What does it 
mean?" said Colonel Stow more calmly. 

"It means that our parson knew the man under the 
petticoats," said Colonel Royston. "And my lady 
will be adorning a Puritan prison without them." 
The vision gave him plain consolation. 

Colonel Stow strode out. 



CHAPTER FIVE 

MY LADY LEPE TAKES OFF HER PETTICOATS 

MY LADY WESTON had the misfortune to 
wed a man whom she did not amuse. She was 
the mother of a daughter with more brains than her- 
self. You would not expect her to find life pleasant 
After Sir Godfrey's death she was doubtless more at 
ease, but she had made the mistake of loving him. 
Her daughter was not unkind, but plainly had no 
need of her. My Lady Weston, in fact, had not 
enough to give for any one to need her. Her private 
tragedy was that she knew it. 

The happiest days of all her life were those in 
which Gilbert Bourne trusted her with the tale of 
his first shy hopes of her daughter. It was such a 
one as Gilbert Bourne, joyous with a thousand frank 
enthusiasms, for whom in truth her nature was 
made, and, listening to his shy, eager confidence, she 
could dream her youth back, and a glad wooing, and 
happiness sure. But when he grew bolder and Lu- 
cinda kind, he wanted no more of her mother. My 
Lady Weston had again to efface herself. That was 
her trade. 

Lucinda was not troubled by her mother as she sat 
43 



44 COLONEL GREATHEART 

in the white room of the Manor by Gilbert Bourne. 
He wore still his somber petticoats of the road, but 
she was resplendent. An apple-green gown clung 
close about her, with embroidery of silver on her 
bosom, and the full light fell — always she loved 
light — through her rich hair and came with mellow 
ray to caress her slender neck and shoulder. Gilbert 
Bourne adored, and she smiled. 

"Heaven ! Do you know how you fire a man ?" he 
cried. 

Her smile faded a little. He saw a strange de- 
fiant gleam in her eyes. "Are you afraid of flame? 
I have something to give the man who fires my 
heart." 

He caught her closer. "Lucinda! You! Such a 
gift as no man ever enjoyed yet. You are the very 
wild strength of life." 

She laughed softly, looking out at the night. "I 
would take more than I give," she said. 

"That can not be. All of a man, his soul to fight 
with yours the world through, to worship you and 
guard and serve you, oh, I give you all, all. But 'tis 
nothing for what you give in love — all the fierce full 
glory and joy. Lucinda!" He crushed her hands 
in his, his breath was on her cheek. 

She turned her head. "Teach me your hunger," 
she breathed, her lips close to his. 

Then he laughed as if all were won. "Dear, you 
were made for delight. You shall sound every note 
of love, and throb to the music. I'll wake — " 



LADY LEPE DISCARDS PETTICOATS 45 

Out of the black void beyond the window a gentle- 
man in buff rose to the light, a swart Puritan trooper. 
A moment he gazed helpless. The duplication of 
petticoats in this wooing plainly confused him. Then 
he grabbed the shoulder of each. "In the name of 
Adam, which is the man of you ?" he roared. 

I wonder if Lucinda ever fully forgave her lover 
that ridiculous moment. She repulsed him in a 
spasm of passion that sent him into the Puritan's 
arms and herself out of them. So that a dozen morp 
righteous warriors, breaking into the room, saw their 
comrade embracing one woman with a violent fer- 
vor, while another regarded him in crimson, palpi- 
tating horror. Their natural moral emotions held 
them a moment gaping. "Oh, fools," groaned the 
first comer, for Gilbert Bourne was hammering 
doughtily at his face, "this is the man. Ugh ! And 
a man of wrath. Bind him with strong cords." 
Then they encompassed Gilbert Bourne and over- 
whelmed him, bidding him earnestly not to kick 
against the pricks. Doing so with violence, he was 
borne out. 

Then Lucinda, angry with him and the Puritans 
and herself, and all the scheme of things, cried out: 
"It is a foul, cowardly outrage!" The one trooper 
who was left buried his face in a kerchief, not for 
emotion, but because Gilbert Bourne had set his nose 
bleeding mightily. "Oh, that I were a man!" she 
cried, stamping her foot. "I would swinge you for 
it! But if I were a man you had not dared!" 



46 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Woman, for what I know, you are," said the 
trooper in a muffled voice. "This is a confusing 
household to a godly mind." 

She cried out in wordless passionate disgust. He 
strode solemnly to the door, holding his nose. 
"Where are you going?" she cried. "What is your 
work? What would you do?" 

"Woman," he replied with much dignity, "I would 
put cold iron to my back." I can be sorry for Lu- 
cinda. 

For indeed she got no more of those righteous 
troopers than that. Cornet Jehoiada Tompkins had 
been sent to capture a man of Belial in petticoats, 
and, having done it, was in haste to be gone. Gilbert 
Bourne, much disordered, was straitly bound on his 
own horse, and they bore him off to Puritan justice 
at Aylesbury. 

It is now well that you should come to the loft 
where upon fragrant hay Alcibiade and Matthieu- 
Marc were snoring. Matthieu-Marc felt the end of 
a riding-whip separating his ribs. He rolled over, 
being ticklish, and saw level with him on the ladder 
a lantern and the face of Colonel Stow, which last 
said : "Quiet. Saddle," and vanished. 

Matthieu-Marc kicked Alcibiade, who, unawake, 
kicked feebly back. "Even asleep you are not a 
Christian," said Matthieu-Marc sadly. "Infidel!" he 
took Alcibiade by the ear. "Infidel, arise!" 

Alcibiade sat up. He }'awned cavernously on 



LADY LEPE DISCARDS PETTICOATS 47 

Matthieu-Marc. "I shall never be ready for the 
resurrection," said he. 

"I understand your fears of it," said Matthieu- 
Marc, and, having by this time got his boots on, he 
vanished down the ladder, whither, groaning but 
swiftly, Alcibiade followed. 

In the stable below, Royston was at Colonel Stow's 
elbow. "What is the campaign, Jerry?" said he in a 
low voice. 

"If the gentleman be taken, I must set him free," 
quoth Colonel Stow, busy with his saddle. 

Colonel Royston confesses that he did not see the 
need. To him the issue of the affair appeared hu- 
morously just. "Why, Jerry," says he, "it was a 
scullion's trick the lad played you." 

"It belongs to me to save him," said Colonel Stow. 

Colonel Royston turned to his own horse. Chiv- 
alry, he reflected, is the most dangerous engine 
against women — a sex ever unchivalrous. If Jerry 
would outshine this Gilbert Bourne and dazzle his 
Lucinda, no better way than to play Quixote. Thus 
Colonel Royston, who did not suspect his friend of a 
like profundity^ and therefore admired him. 

Soon they were riding through the stormy dark, 
Alcibiade and Matthieu-Marc bearing each a shoul- 
der-load of trace rope. Colonel Stow might be 
Quixote at heart, but he had another man's head and 
ten years' mingled campaigning to help it. Nor to 
him nor to Royston did the aff^air loom arduous. 
They knew themselves in such matters. They rode 



48 COLONEL GREATHEART 

to the double rank of elms by the road to the Manor, 
halted a while to listen^ and went on some way. 
Then at a word Matthieu-Marc slipped to the 
ground and wove a thick tangle of rope across the 
road from tree to tree. He came back and mounted 
again, and held the horse of Alcibiade, who went 
afoot, crouching. So they waited there in the black- 
ness while the trees rustled and groaned. It was not 
long till the troop of Cornet Tompkins came clash- 
ing on. Cornet Tompkins was in a hurry, and there- 
by his first files met the graver destruction. Their 
horses, crashing down in the strong network, 
plunged madly, and upon them came comrade after 
comrade, till half the troop was lost in blind, roar- 
ing chaos. Swiftly the while behind them Alcibiade 
wove new ropes across the way and fled, so that when 
the rearward men tried to rein back, their horses in 
turn were overthrown, and there was a double dis- 
tracting tumult. In the stormy dark none could help 
himself or another, nor see nor guess how they were 
beset. Blindly they raved, and Colonel Stow and 
his friend, calm engineers of terror and disaster, 
hovered on the verge, marking down my Lady Lepe. 
Out of the thud and crash of the struggling horses 
and the yells and shoutings of angry, hurt, fright- 
ened men. Cornet Jehoiada Tompkins was heard ex- 
horting scripturally, his desire being chiefly to hew 
Agag in pieces. 

But Agag they caught none, for Alcibiade and 
Matthieu-Marc, unseen, unfollowed, were already 



LADY LEPE DISCARDS TETTICOATS 49 

neatly away, and Royston and Colonel Stow, plung- 
ing purposeful into the midst, had broken through, 
with my Lady Lepe and her horse a sandwich be- 
tween them, before any one knew them for foes. 
Some bright mind marked the prisoner going in the 
gloom and raised a yell, some plunged after, but 
thereupon from all round the compass came a crackle 
of pistol shots. Colonel Royston, with some small 
aid, could ever be ubiquitous. It sufficed. The Pur- 
itans had no mind to scatter in a circle of foes. 

Well on the road to Little Kimble, Colonel Stow 
drew his rein and my Lady Lepe's. "You will doubt- 
less go faster without your petticoats, sir," said he, 
and began to cut her bonds. 

"Zounds, do you tell me you know what I am?" 
cried Gilbert Bourne. 

"I have the honor to wish you joy of your man- 
hood, sir," said Colonel Stow gravely. Gilbert 
Bourne muttered some oath. Once free, he tore off 
his skirts and settled himself astride. "That is the 
road to Thame, where you should be safe," said 
Colonel Stow. 

"I will swear I am not such a cur as I seem," Gil- 
bert Bourne cried. "I'gad, sir, I ask your pardon." 

Colonel Stow bowed. "There is no question of 
pardon, sir. I give you good night." 

Colonel Royston is moved to record that he was 
sorry for Mr. Bourne. 

Fetching a compass toward Aylesbury, they came 
comfortably home again, but were scarce in before 



50 COLONEL GREATHEART 

there was a rumble of horsemen. Royston put out 
the lights, Colonel Stow shot the bolts, and they went 
lightly to bed. So that when three minutes after 
there was a monstrous din at the door, the whole 
house was patently asleep. 

It was some while, and the noise growing fero- 
cious, before a light was struck in an upper room, 
and the night-capped head of Colonel Royston was 
thrust into the night. He yawned at it capaciously 
while the Puritan troopers bellowed up to him. "An 
ungodly lascivious noise," said he. "I think you be 
malignants." 

It was made known to him that they were poor 
servants of the Lord of Hosts who desired to know 
if he had any word of a movement of malignants 
there or thereby. 

Colonel Royston gave them in definite terms a de- 
scription of the character and a prophecy of the fate 
of those who troubled the sleep of the godly with 
vain questionings. 



CHAPTER SIX 

A PERSON OF IMPORTANCE 

COLONEL ROYSTON, walking a while before 
his breakfast, beheld with a bland satisfaction 
the approach of the minister. The minister was 
something wan. Colonel Royston joyfully escorted 
him within. There Mr. Stow met him with a large 
smile and the hope that he had not come to take his 
daughter from them so soon. "Sir," quoth the min- 
ister, "I have no home to give her, for I lie in the 
camp, and in truth she hath not where to lay her 
head. If of your good will she may shelter here a 
while, myself being at all her charges, I would give 
you much thanks." 

"If 'tis your will, child," Mr. Stow turned to the 
girl, " 'tis heartily mine." She feared with a blush 
she would trouble him. "No more than the apple- 
blossom the tree. So that is well." 

"I am hungry to hear, sir," says the innocent 
Colonel Royston, as they went to table, "how you 
caught your runagate malignant in petticoats." 

The minister gathered solemnity. "Sir, I have 
seen the handiwork of the powers of darkness before 
my eyes. I have beheld the miracles of that old ser- 

51 



52 COLONEL GREATHEART 

pent Do not doubt, sir, that in this dispensation the 
devil is with power to save his own." 

"You explain to me the survival of many of my 
friends," said Colonel Royston. "Pray, sir, did the 
man become woman to spite you ?" 

"The creature was man enough, sir, and fought 
like a beast in petticoats — " 

"I have ever held that beasts should be confined to 
breeches," Royston murmured. 

"But he was overcome, though certain godly 
young men of the troop still bear marks of his ma- 
lignity. He was bound upon his horse, and we set 
off at speed for Aylesbury. Behold, we had not 
drawn clear of the park when our horses were caught 
as in a net — both rearward and vanward at once, 
mark you, which is certainly witchcraft — and some 
charged down upon us and snatched the prisoner 
away, and when we would have pursued, lo, there 
was a ring of fire all round us, as if a great army. 
Then Cornet Tompkins, who is indeed a savory 
member, bade halt and sing a psalm. The which done 
(being Koph of the one hundred and nineteenth, 
a very sweet portion), all that army of Satan was 
passed away, and we were enabled of grace to cut 
loose the net of many cords wherein we were en- 
meshed. Then some would have it that we had been 
assaulted by a regiment of malignants, and Cornet 
Tompkins bade us move forward together, lest we 
should be beset, and we went seeking tidings from 
house to house; yea, sir, and I grieve that we did 



A PERSON OF IMPORTANCE 53 

break your comfortable rest, wherefore you did 
justly rebuke us in godly fashion. For it was even 
as I told Cornet Tompkins, of malignants we could 
gather tidings nowhere, and it is plain we were en- 
trapped of no mortal power, but of that great red 
dragon which hath seven heads and ten horns, the 
tail whereof draws the stars of heaven and casts 
them upon earth, even as he did put us to confusion 
with cords till we cried upon the name of the Lord, 
which is a very present refuge." 

Mr. Stow, in mute practical admiration of such a 
sentence, passed him a full tankard of beer. Colonel 
Royston carved into a boar's head with relish. "Sir," 
says he, "your exposition is gladsome. Never before 
have I seen the devil in things so clearly," and he 
smiled upon Colonel Stow. 

"It should be a source of pride, sir," says Colonel 
Stow, busy with smoked venison, "that the devil is 
thus attentive to you." And Royston saw Joan Nor- 
mandy look at him with horror. 

"Sir, lead me not into the pit of vainglory," said 
the minister. "I will avow my heart is glad Sathan- 
as hath chosen me to march against with powers. 
Yet of a truth there are those much more worthy of 
him." 

"Nay, sir, 'tis ill modesty to bid another go to the 
devil in your stead," quoth Colonel Stow. "We must 
needs deem you worthiest if he does." The minister 
shook his modest head, but Joan Normandy gave 
Colonel Stow eyes of more and more ill will. Colonel 



54 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Royston complains of her somewhere that she had 
wits in her as well as virtue — an unnatural wedlock. 

Colonel Stow surprised himself that morning by 
an insufficiency of melancholy. He knew, whenever 
he dared let himself think, that the loss of Lucinda 
tore from him the spirit of life. Without a hope of 
her he had no will to go on. But his heart would 
not believe him defeated. Behind all thought there 
surged in him a blind conviction that she was his of 
right. More surely real than all that reason could 
give him he felt inviolable bonds. There was that in 
the past no man could make of none effect, no woman 
betray. He had the strength of dreams. In his first 
manhood, when he lay upon the bosom of the downs 
and the earth spoke to him of the power of life, he 
had seen Lucinda the soul of his soul in a timeless 
world of eager deeds. On the stark, desolate fields 
of Germany, when the squadrons clashed and he 
rode to victory through a wild whirl of war, he had 
seen his strength bound ever to her service, that in 
union they might conquer and guide the troubled 
course of things. The dream had been granted. He 
was sure. 

He could not be very unhappy as he walked in the 
orchard fragrance. And indeed it was no day of 
misery. A swift shower had just gone whirling by, 
but already, breaking through a smoky cloud rift, 
the sun was clear again, and the wet white blossoms 
sparkled with rainbow light, and the daffodils be- 
neath were laden with a gleaming dew of gold. On 



A PERSON OF IMPORTANCE 55 

the wet air came the wild, glad spirit of spring. 
Colonel Stow breathed of it till his mind was whirled 
away in delight. He was drunk with the goodness 
of things. 

In which happy state he beheld Joan Normandy 
walking by the violet bank, a vision of neat woman- 
hood. Colonel Stow felt fatherly and approached 
her smiling in that style. She turned her back on 
him. "I might rashly believe that I have displeased 
you," Colonel Stow mildly conjectured, and turning, 
unashamed, walked by her side. 

She flushed. She became fierce. "I beg you 
would not company with me, sir," she cried. 

"That gives me the right to ask why," said Colonel 
Stow placidly. 

She turned to face him. The grave gray eyes 
flamed. "You have made a mock of my father." 

"Oh," Colonel Stow understood. She had seen 
that expedition of darkness. "You should have a 
conscience that will let you sleep o' nights, child. 
But consider : it would be vanity in me to claim that 
I am the devil." She flung away from him and sped 
on over the turf walk. He followed. "Moreover, 
your father would grieve if he thought Sathanas was 
neglecting him. Your anger is unreasonable." She 
was caught in an angle of the hedge, and could not 
escape, but she kept her face hidden, and he saw 
her hand at her eyes. "Why, child," says he, with 
his hand on her shoulder, " 'tis an idle jest enough, 
but you make too much of it. Your father has taken 



56 COLONEL GREATHEART 

no hurt, nor his cause. Nay, believe me. 'Tis only 
a lad in love I have snatched from prison, and your 
father is no worse for it. Why make it so grave a 
matter?" 

"You have — you have made me act in a lie," she 
sobbed. 

This precision of righteousness was something be- 
yond Colonel Stow. He took his hand from her. 
"Pray, if it would ease your conscience, tell him the 
truth." 

She turned on him again, miserable and much 
wrath. "You know I can not, and — and I hate , 
you !" 

Colonel Stow caressed his beard. "You are out of 
my knowledge, child," he confessed. "If I can make 
your way easier, show me." 

"I am a spy on you if I tell. And you saved us. 
Oh," she made a gesture of impatient childish wrath, 
"I can not tell why you should meddle to help him. 
He had betrayed you with her. What are they to 
you?" 

Colonel Stow became erect. "You talk of what 
you know nothing, child," he said stiffly. 

But she would not be rebuked, and they stood 
against each other in angry dignity. Until — since 
all dignity in this world is fated to a mirthful end 
— until a hen, fleeing with hysterical complaints, 
hurtled through Colonel Stow's legs and vanished 
through the hedge. She was pursued by a small, 
round, determined child, who, finding these two 



A PERSON OF IMPORTANCE 57 

large people, checked and stood before them stolid, a 
person conscious of importance. Solemnly he looked 
from one to the other, then, his blue eyes large and 
accusing, he turned to Colonel Stow. "You have 
made that lady cry," he said gravely. 

Joan Normandy gave a queer, nervous laugh. 

It displeased the child, who thought her disre- 
spectful to him. He devoted himself to Colonel Stow. 
"Man," says he, with the easy dignity of an equal, 
"who are you?" Colonel Stow gravely accounted 
for himself. "I," said the child, "am Antony Jewe- 
miah Higgs. What is you doing?" 

"Sir, I am being scolded," said Colonel Stow 
sadly. 

Antony Jeremiah Higgs turned the eye of a cold 
critic upon Joan Normandy, who indeed, between 
anger and unhappiness, was not comely. He revert- 
ed to Colonel Stow. "Does you know Martha?" 
Colonel Stow denied it. "Martha is like that when 
she is cross with Sam." 

"Antony Jeremiah Higgs," said Colonel Stow, "a 
man does not chatter about ladies." 

The child was plainly disappointed, having doubt- 
less intended a further parallel with Martha. But 
he took the hint gentlemanly, and changed the sub- 
ject with vigor. "Man," says he, "can you make 
men?" 

"I am not allowed to," said Colonel Stow. 

"Why?" 

"Because I should not do it well enough." 



58 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Try," said the child imperiously, and turned 
upon Joan. "Can't you make men ?" 

"Not very well," says she, and then, with impa- 
tience at the foolish stupefaction of Colonel Stow: 
"He means out of wood, of course." 

"Oh ! Faith, that is an easier task," said Colonel 
Stow, and pulled down a sturdy twig of walnut, 
sliced it off, and began to whittle it into mannikins. 
Antony Jeremiah Higgs directed masterfully the 
details of the creation. The Adam of it did not 
please him, and he generously handed the creature 
to Joan. "You may have that. I like them with 
legs." 

"Legs are but vanity, a means to naughtiness," 
said Colonel Stow, but began to construct them, 
while the child clung to him in anxious delight. 

"Now make them some women." 

"Faith," says Colonel Stow, "I think they will be 
more at peace without them." 

"They must have mothers," said the child. 

"They should have thought of that before they 
were born." 

Antony Jeremiah Higgs had too serious a mind to 
dally with flippant ingenuity. "Go on," he ordered 
with some scorn, and Colonel Stow meekly continued 
the creation. 

Joan Normandy stood by them, still, uncon- 
strained now. She watched the small boy clinging 
about Colonel Stow, eager, happy, and Colonel Stow 
giving himself gaily to meet the manifold needs of 



A PERSON OF IMPORTANCE 59 

childish importance, and the trouble was smoothed 
away from her face. 

Blue clouds had clashed on the hill above Wend- 
over, and a whirl of rain came by. But the sun was 
clear still, and soon a rainbow spanned the vale. 
^'What is it?" said Antony Jeremiah Higgs, and was 
told. He gazed with round, approving eyes at the 
splendor. "I want it," said he. 

"Are you sure you can find it?" said Colonel Stow. 

There was the child's look of wonder at man's 
folly. "Of course I can find it. Come wiv me." 

So, with a child for guide. Colonel Stow went off 
to find a rainbow. Joan Normandy, left behind, 
looked at the round scrap of life poised to the swing 
of the man's shoulder, and smiled like the spring- 
time, through tears. 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

COLONEL STOW IS AGAIN INSPIRED 

IN the farm-yard Alciblade, who had a mind inter- 
ested in all things, examined the domestic habits 
of the Berkshire pig. His investigations were inter- 
rupted by the issue of Matthieu-Marc from the 
kitchen. Matthieu-Marc came like a shooting star, 
with flying dishwater for his tail. From the door- 
way a plump and rubicund cook spoke of his char- 
acter in the style of the recording angel, and 
threatened shrilly of the wrath to come. 

Alcibiade shook his head at the off"ender. "You 
always make love with too much salt in it. It is also 
the fault of your soups. And disagreeable to per- 
sons of innocent mind." 

"I do not desire to please children," said Mat- 
thieu-Marc, wrathful still. "And it is not a matter 
of love, but of sauce." 

"It is the same thing," said Alcibiade, "to persons 
of delicacy." 

"I wished to make a sauce of garlic and olives to 
serve with the roast beef — a sauce alluring and 
subtle. She resented it. She Is a person of no soul. 
Come away." 

60 



COLONEL STOW AGAIN INSPIRED 6i 

They went, and, Matthieu-Marc being in the 
power of his emotions, went with speed till they 
came to a hurdled meadow, where the shepherds 
were busy among many lambs. Of them Alcibiade, 
who was not fond of going upon his own legs, made 
an excuse to stop. But Matthieu-Marc was impa- 
tient. "They tire me, your sheep. Bah, it is a coun- 
try all sheep, I think, with no taste for savories and 
no divine desire of war. M. le Colonel also, I do not 
understand him any more. He dallies. He is in two 
minds — like the soup of these English, which does 
not know whether it would be water or grease." 

"In fact, my dear M,atthieu, you have no intellect. 
You do not understand anything but the one little 
belly of your own. M. le Colonel, he is like the late 
Bayard and myself; he fights to fulfil his own glori- 
ous nature. He is a soldier of dreams. That is why 
he and I are very terrible in war. We desire only to 
give our great souls full play." 

"In that case, my friend, you should become a 
sheep," growled Matthieu-Marc. 

Alcibiade contemplated the bleating lambs with 
benignity. "My dear Matthieu," says he, "most men, 
being stupid like yourself, desire to make life more 
savory than is good for them. By example, as you 
want foods that make the innocent stomach wrath, 
so you lust after plunder in war. But your soldier 
of dreams seeks only to be himself and let his great- 
ness shine before men." 

"I can behold a sheep thinking himself great," 



62 COLONEL GREATHEART 

murmured Matthieu-Marc. "He would be amus- 
mg. 

"It is something, after all, to be the perfect 
sheep," said Alcibiade, 

And meanwhile the soldier of dreams was away to 
his desire. He had permitted himself some splen- 
dor. A feather of peaceful green caressed his hat, 
and the rest of him was a consonant blue. I find 
something of his nature in this affection for blue and 
green. There was lace from Bruges at his throat, 
caught in a brooch of sapphires. For all this, Lu- 
cinda, I fear, liked him the better. Moreover, he 
was plainly a man, and therefore a. relief from the 
epicene wooing of my Lady Lepe, And Lucinda, 
too, perhaps, had dwelt with dreams. When she 
first waked to know her womanhood he had been in 
her heart. That availed always. 

It is likely she was hoping for him when she came 
out beyond the hedge of roses to the park. So you 
might explain the sweet humility of her gown, all 
simple and silver gray. She met him with a shy 
curtsy and downcast eyes. "I had no right to hope 
for this, sir." 

"You have ever the right to command me, ma- 
dame." 

"It becomes me better to ask your pardon." She 
raised her eyes to his. 

"Madame?" 

"To play before you in so ill a jest." 



COLONEL STOW AGAIN INSPIRED 63 

"I would give my life to know how much was jest, 
madame." 

Her neck grew rosy (that was a great beauty of 
hers), "What must you think me?" she cried. "Tell 
me, tell me how much you know." 

"Of this, madame, I can know nothing but what 
your own lips tell." 

"You know it was a man ?" she said in a low voice. 
Colonel Stow bowed. "And yet you, surely none but 
you, set him free?" He bowed again. "Why, then, 
why?" 

"Since he was at least a friend of yours," said 
Colonel Stow. 

"And if he were more?" 

Colonel Stow drew in his breath. "Then — I am 
the more glad that I helped him," he said slowly. 

"I think you live to make me ashamed," she said, 
and somewhile looked at him silent, her clear eyes 
intent and unafraid, but strangely gentle. "And if 
I tell you he is no more to me than another man, 
what shall I seem — whom you saw in his arms ?" 

"I am more sure of your honor than my own," 
said Colonel Stow. 

"Yes!" She flung her arms wide and laughed 
glad to the sky. "Yes, you ring true. I should wish 
you to know all, if you will. This Mr. Bourne, why, 
I profess I like him not ill, but he is more boy than 
man. He is pleased to believe himself devoted to 
me, and hath ventured himself from Oxford often 
in this disguise. Oh, I doubt I have been foolishly 



64 COLONEL GREATHEART 

kind, but indeed he amused me, and did himself no 
ill, I think. 'Tis just a joyous, honest lad. But in- 
deed he has a bold mischief in him, and — why, I can 
not tell now whether to laugh or be angry — he made 
his advantage of your presence to — to" — she was in 
a pretty confusion — "in fine, sir, 'twas yourself won 
him what he had. I dared not deny the rogue, lest 
you should suspect him no woman. And I could not 
betray him to you, for I feared you committed to the 
Puritans, like your brother. So he had his impudent 
will." She smiled, shy-eyed, and blushing in a de- 
lectable way. "Oh, I ought to feel it more hurt — 
but — but he — well, some day another woman will 
make him know it is not play." 

"A man might make him know it was an inso- 
lence," said Colonel Stow with some relish. 

"Why, yes, sir, when I give some man the right." 
And Colonel Stow bowed to the rebuke. "But have 
you heard enough of me to tell me something of 
yourself?" 

"I think you know the best of me," said Colonel 
Stow in a low voice. 

"Indeed, 1 know no terrible ill," she smiled. 

"The best of me is that I love you." He took her 
hand and she turned a little away. "That is the 
strength of my life." She did not answer, but she 
did not grudge him her hand. 

So they stood when a shadow fell between them. 
"With whom do you company by stealth, woman?" 
said one, mouthing in the manner of the pulpit 



COLONEL STOW AGAIN INSPIRED 65 

Colonel Stow turned, stiffening to behold Cornet 
Jehoiada Tompkins. Cornet Tompkins was large 
and upon the way to fatness. His face had reached 
it, and in some parts betrayed a kindness for the 
good things of this world. He had the swelling 
port, the mobile lips of the man of speech. Colonel 
Stow surveyed him with an amused contempt that 
stung. He moistened his lips and rolled his eyes. 
"Who art thou in the purple and fine linen of the 
Canaanites?" he cried. 

"Concerning purple," said Colonel Stow, "though 
I think it be the bully among colors, it has the pat- 
ronage of your nose." 

"Fellow, we are not met to debate the fashion of 
my countenance," cried Cornet Tompkins. 

"Indeed, sir, it calls not for debate, but lamenta- 
tions," Colonel Stow admitted. 

"I see well that thou art of the blood of Shimei 
which cursed David. Thy name, oh thou man of 
Belial, and thy purpose here?" 

"My name, sir, is Stow, and my purpose is to 
glorify your nose. Believe me, sir, 'tis a sweet 
member." 

Cornet Tompkins was plainly embarrassed. "Are 
you of one blood with that godly Master David 
Stow which is major in Colonel Ireton's regiment?" 

"His unworthy brother am I. And could wish 
him here, that we might make a duetto concerning 
your nose, its complexion. Yet will I do what I 
can to hymn it worthily alone." 



66 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Cornet Tompkins, feeling his nose nervously, be- 
came plaintive. "Sir, it ill beseems you to mock at 
a man of God before a Canaanitish woman," 

"Mock? Who, I? Sir, I am all lamentation. I 
could mourn with you all the day long. Like a 
Dutch tulip at dawn — " Cornet Tompkins did not 
wait for the elaboration of that poetic simile. He 
strutted off, wrapped in embarrassed indignation. 

With a whimsical smile Colonel Stow turned to 
Lucinda again. "Life is like that, I think. A crea- 
ture with such a nose shadows us when we dream. 
Pray, madame, what is his affair here?" 

"He hath quartered himself upon us," said Lu- 
cinda angrily. "Oh, sir, 'tis not to be borne. A 
boor that forces himself into my mother's withdraw- 
ing-room to whine his sermons." 

Colonel Stow took counsel with his beard. "It 
were easy to fix a quarrel on him whereof he would 
not recover. But I doubt you would but have more 
of his kind to trouble you. Nevertheless, I am heart- 
ily at your command if you desire it." 

"Nay, that is no help, sir. The fellow swears we 
are to have a company of his knaves billeted on us 
till the war ends — because, forsooth, we have given 
shelter to spies of the King. Indeed, sir, I have 
much to thank Mr. Bourne for. These vile Round- 
heads make my life hideous. They force their 
brutish persons upon me in every chamber. They 
deafen me whining their psalms. They pray at me 
with vile names. Oh, I would that the King might 



COLONEL STOW AGAIN INSPIRED 67 

conquer speedily, and whip the knaves back to their 
kennels." 

Colonel Stow's brow was bent, and his eyes fiery, 
but he spoke calmly enough. "You are all for the 
King, madame?" 

"Who is not but such base rogues as these?" she 
cried. "Oh, I would that I were a man to strike for 
him. Sure, sir, every noble heart is with him. 'Tis 
the honor of England for which he fights. How 
should he yield his realm to the madness of base- 
born fanatics? His cause is the cause of every man 
of right knightly blood. Shall such rogues as these 
be our masters? Nay, sir, who Is loyal to himself is 
loyal to the King. Each man that hath any honor, 
ay, each woman, is bound to him." She was fair 
enough, with her eyes aflame and bosom surging. 

Colonel Stow bowed. "You have spoken, mad- 
ame." She smiled at him, with a new light in her 
eyes and quick, eager, flung out her hand to him. 
His lips stayed upon it long, and as she smiled down 
at him a strange tenderness made her face lovely. 
Colonel Stow was something pale as he stood again 
erect, and a long while their eyes spoke together. 
Then, with her bosom rising, her neck rosy, she 
turned a little away. 

But when, in ,a while, Colonel Stow spoke again, 
he was calm enough. "It is plain, madame, that, 
while you can not drive these rogues away, you can 
leave them behind. Are there friends where you 
can make your home a while?" 



68 COLONEL GREATHEART 

She hesitated a while, finger on cheek, then with 
a sudden glad cry : "Ah, but Oxford ! To the 
King at Oxford! One could live there." Then her 
face fell again. "But these knaves would not suffer 
it. We are in prison to them." 

Colonel Stow smiled. "I can not permit a gentle- 
man of such a nose to meddle with my emotions," 
said he. 

"But" — she looked doubt and surprise, and was 
plainly puzzled — "but he has many, so many men," 
she faltered. "It is like a regiment." 

"It is in fact half a troop," said Colonel Stow, who 
had a neat mind. He smiled again. "They make 
the affair an entertainment." 

"You mean that you can?" she cried, and he 
bowed. "Everything is easy with you," she said 
slowly. She drew a long breath. Her eyes began to 
flame. "Oh, it is good, it is good to be by your side. 
You are sure. You give me life." 

He flushed. He caught her hands in a grip that 
hurt her, and her breast beat against his. And, as 
a strange, keen throb of passion waked in him, he 
saw Cornet Tompkins under the elms regarding 
them gloomily. 

It was necessary to part with laughter. 

Then Colonel Stow, approaching Cornet Tomp- 
kns with determination, described in fullness his 
nose. It obtruded, nevertheless, persistent into the 
dreams of life. 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

UPON THE USE OF A NOSE 

COLONEL ROYSTON complained of the nature 
of things. The fork of a pear tree made him a 
pleasant seat, and at whiles its blossom fell upon 
him, so that he had an Arcadian air. The smoke of 
his pipe rose comfortably to the lucid sky. Yet he 
complained. He desired fruit as well as flower. 
"For," says he, "the virginity of this white blossom 
purifies the mind so that I am in the mood to eat 
fruit with a devout relish. But when the fruit is 
here, my mind, unadorned with flowers, is but gross 
and carnal, which is proper enough for blood pud- 
dings (Jerry, my love, the black puddings of Er- 
bach !) , but spoils the taste of fruit. Ah, would that 
I had been consulted in the creation !" 

"As I see it," said Colonel Stow, who was 
stretched full length beneath him, "the flaw in the 
world is the nose of Jehoiada. Since Nuremberg, 
when we made them of our breeches, I have ever 
doubted a sausage. Sure, the man who uses one for 
a nose is a misanthrope. Nay, George, the nose of 
Jehoiada must determine us." 

"For myself, if I were not beautiful, I would 
69 



70 COLONEL GREATHEART 

choose to be a gargoyle," said Royston. "But you 
were born shy, Jerry. What ails you with Jehoiada? 
Does he wear his nose haughtily ?" 

"With a crude pride. He flaunts it in the delicate 
places of my soul. Oh, 'tis the ugliness of all the 
world incarnate. It is plain, George, since the nose 
of Jehoiada is of one side (certainly God forbid it 
should be upon two. That would be unfair. There 
is but one hell) , we must be of the other." 

Colonel Royston regarded his friend with a sin- 
gular benignity. "We are to ride for the King, 
Jerry? Then I think there is another nose than 
Jehoiada's that is guiding us — to wit, the fair nose 
of Mistress Lucinda." 

"When, by the grace of God, you learn to love a 
woman — " 

"We shall both regret it," said Colonel Royston 
with decision. 

" — her nose will be to you a thing of no ac- 
count — " 

"That will add piquancy to the amour." 

" 'Tis no part, but the divine whole of her will in- 
spire you. So it is now with me, I will not deny it. 
Indeed, I am engaged to liberate her from the nose 
of Jehoiada and bring her to Oxford to the King. 
Wherefore, George, propound me a strategy. Jehoi- 
ada guards the Manor with his nose and half a troop. 
We muster but four, for I would not bring my fath- 
er's hinds into the affair — who are indeed but bump- 
kins." 



UPON THE USE OF A NOSE 71 

Colonel Royston waved away smoke. "So my lady 
would go to the King," said he, drily enough. "Per- 
haps she would also go to Mr. Bourne?" 

"Mr. Bourne is only an impudent boy who is 
pleased to believe himself enamored," said Colonel 
Stow. "He is not very amusing, but no more harm." 

Colonel Royston looked down at his friend with a 
singular affection. "All is well, Jerry?" he said 
softly. 

"Very well. ... I see good days, George. We 
will make ourselves somewhat to this King of ours. 
. . . And to fight before the eyes of my lady." . . 
He laughed. . . . "Well, the first pleasure is to 
discomfort Jehoiada. A strategy, George! Pro- 
pound me a strategy. With four to defeat half a 
troop. 'Tis worthy of your genius." 

Colonel Royston withdrew his pipe and caressed 
his moustachio. "You remember how Strozzi got 
the little Margravine away from the Croats at Pfiil- 
lingen? Put poppy juice in their beer and cut their 
snoring throats. But she had a strong stomach, the 
little Margravine, and your lady might think it over 
sanguinary." 

"Strozzi is a butcher," said Colonel Stow shortly. 

"He does make a mess," Royston admitted. "But 
he arrives. You want a strategy of delicacy, a cam- 
paign for petticoats. It is not in my way. I am not 
sure that it is decent." 

Colonel Stow began picking daisies. "H there 
were firing," said he, "much firing, at dusk or dawn 



72 COLONEL GREATHEART 

(Alcibiade could make a very thunder with two 
carbines), Jehoiada should take the most of his men 
out against it, and we might swoop upon the Manor 
and be gone." 

Royston shook his head. "If I am too sanguinary, 
you are too sanguine, Jerry," said he; "and, i'gad, 
that sums up our natures fairly. I know no surety 
Jehoiada will be a fool the way you need. When he 
hears firing he is as like to shut himself in the Manor 
and stand to arms. Well, we be a pair of paladins, 
indeed, but miracles are out of fashion." 

Colonel Stow cast daisies into the air and gravely 
watched them fall. 

Above the hedge rose the head and shoulders of a 
man who rode down the lane, a Puritan officer. 
Colonel Stow sat up. "My brother !" said he, with a 
whistle of doleful mirth. "He complicates the af- 
fair." 

In a minute Major David Stow strode into the 
orchard. He wore a light corselet and helmet of 
polished steel, and his sleeves and breeches were 
tawny red. There was no doubt of the brotherhood. 
They were a match in strength, of the same whole- 
some pallor, the same earnest, glad eye. But David 
Stow's faith kept him clean shaven and his hair 
cropped. And there was brotherhood enough in the 
greeting. . . . Colonel Royston saluted with a 
lifted pipe and an approving smile from the tree. I 
think he had always an admiration for David Stow. 

The brothers were side by side on the grass. "It 



UPON THE USE OF A NOSE 73 

is good to have you home, Jerry. And you are come 
in a good hour. This poor land needs such as you." 
David looked at him with affection, but there was 
no answer. Colonel Stow was playing with a daisy. 
"You'll not put off your corselet yet, Jerry?" David 
cried in some surprise. 

"Nay, lad, I wear it. But for which cause?" 
"It is not you who can fight for tyranny — a tyr- 
anny that would own body and soul." For the first 
time Colonel Stow heard the faith that fired the 
strongest hearts of his day — that a man must be free 
to worship his God what way he would without the 
leave of bishop or King; that free men could only 
live in a realm themselves ruled ; that the King must 
be servant of his people, not master. David Stow 
preached it with a passion that made his brother 
wonder, and with a strange power. Here was a shy 
country lad become a man sure of himself and mas- 
terful. Colonel Stow knew strength and honored it. 
And yet, though he had been free to believe, 
though no woman had bound him to another cause, 
I doubt the Puritan faith had never held him. He 
knew men over well. He saw that the world had no 
heart for the stern virtue of the Puritan. For each 
to do what seemed good to himself must needs be 
chaos. He felt, as a man is sure with no need of 
reason, that the mass of men were not ready to be 
free. In a masterless realm he saw cruelty and the 
ruin of waste. He had no hope of a nation of saints, 
it may be, no desire. He believed in order and the 



74 COLONEL GREATHEART 

middle path passionately, sternly, as fanatics their 
own wild faith. And the fervor of his brother left 
him cold. 

Still David Stow went on with swelling heart 
proclaiming the kingdom of God on earth. "Nay, 
Jerry, you must be with us," he cried at last; "there 
is but one cause for such as you." 

" 'Tis a fair dream, lad," said Colonel Stow, look- 
ing up from his ruined daisy with something of a 
sad smile, "but a dream not of our day." 

"Nay, this is the hour! 'Tis we are called to the 
work! Let us be glad that to us is the glory to 
found surely a nation of righteousness. We must to 
arms and set all men free from the bonds of the 
tyrant of sin." 

Colonel Stow shook his head. "My world is not 
your world, lad. I see men that would break down 
a good order given us from of old. I see a people, 
no saints, but kindly fools, that need the old rule to 
guide them aright. David, lad, the hour has not 
struck for your design. And I — well, I am not a 
man of to-morrow." 

But again David Stow must proclaim his vision, 
that strange, glad vision of a world not come yet, 
where each man shall be free to do his own will, and 
each earnest with an austere passion to do the will of 
God. To the men of his faith and his day it was 
near, it was all but real. Colonel Stow shook his 
head. He saw too clearly to believe. David pleaded 
passionately still. It was hard for him to deem a 



UPON THE USE OF A NOSE 75 

man honest who stood against his cause. But he was 
sure of his brother, and needed him, I think, as man 
not often needs man. And at last : "You must be of 
us, Jerry!" he cried. "The cause calls for such as 
you. And I — I want you by my side." 

It was strongest of all he had said. Colonel Stow 
drew in his breath. "I am pledged to another cause, 
lad," he said slowly. 

His brother looked In his eyes and knew there was 
no answer. Silent he held out his hand, silent he 
rose. Then, turning away, he saw Colonel Royston 
grave beyond his custom. Their eyes met. In the 
hardest days that came there was always something 
of a kindness between these two. "I must not ask 
you?" said David Stow. Royston shook his head. 
David Stow looked at his brother again, and went 
away sorrowful. 

They were not wholly light of heart whom he left 
behind. "I would as soon be that man as myself," 
said Colonel Royston pensively. 

If Colonel Stow could not feel that — for to him 
was granted the excellence of Lucinda — it was yet 
some while before he brought his thoughts back to 
the problem of the hour. "There remains," said he, 
"the obstacle of Jehoiada. I hope my brother is not 
a friend of his." 

"If he is, we had best go borrow an army," said 
Colonel Royston grimly. 

But that fear was removed, for they saw David 
Stow pass the orchard hedge again, riding back to 



^6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Aylesbury. He waved his hand, and was gone many 
a day from his brother's life. 

Colonel Stow gave a sigh of relief. "He could 
not, indeed, be the comrade of such a nose. . . . 
That nose ! George, it gives me an idea." 

"An idea of low birth." 

" 'Tis a suspicious member, the nose. And such a 
nose! I will be sworn Jehoiada is suspicious. It 
would be but kindness to give that nose employ. 
Well, he shall suspect. Gerechter Herrgott! How 
he shall suspect !" 

Colonel Royston coughed — coughed so piteously 
that his friend looked up in sympathy. Six feet 
away in the garden he beheld Joan Normandy 
plucking daffodils. "How sweetly innocent are 
flowers," said Colonel Royston, recovering from his 
illness. 

Colonel Stow shook his head. "I discover in you 
a likeness to Jehoiada, George," he said sorrowfully. 
Joan Normandy, with a certain defiant deliberation, 
completed her nosegay. She then departed leisurely. 

"I would trust anything," said Colonel Royston, 
"but righteou.sness." 



CHAPTER NINE 

CONCERNING THE ANGEL URIEL 

" TEHOIADA TOMPKINS, Cornet, will be moved 
J of the spirit at half after ten in the Sabbath 
forenoon in the palace of the Amalekites, which is 
called Stoke Manor." Such was the grateful news 
conveyed to the homestead in Jehoiada's own hand. 
It begat some unseemly mirth from Colonel Royston 
and an offer of his part to conduct Mistress Nor- 
mandy to Jehoiada's punctual motions. "Sir," says 
she, with her chin in the air, "I desire your escort 
nowhere." For if Colonel Royston loved her little, 
she was ever something less than Christian to him. 

Colonel Stow held the gate for her as she went 
forth, all black and white, clasping close in her hand 
a worn Bible, and he stayed a while looking after. 
Her loneliness appealed to him, and that faith of the 
worn Bible, yet there was something ridiculous in 
one who could seek the ministrations of Jehoiada. 
Between sympathy and mirth he watched her out of 
sight. Whereby he had the honor of a salute from 
a strange gentleman, a gentleman who progressed in 
bounds, like a fluttering hen, a shaggy gentleman 
who was naked to the waist He halted on the sight 

77. 



78 COLONEL GREATHEART 

of Colonel Stow; he flung out a talon of a hand. 
"Woe unto thee!" he shrieked, "Woe unto thee! 
I am the Angel Uriel !" 

"How do you like it?" said Colonel Stow politely. 

"I do not like thee, thou man of Babylon, I pour 
out my vial upon thee, for thou hast the mark of the 
beast, I am come to prophesy thy destruction. I 
am the Angel Uriel, and the noise of my roaring 
goeth before me. For I am charged to make the 
high places tremble and the mighty men flee away. 
Woe unto thee ! Thou shalt have a grievous sore." 

Then Colonel Stow was gripped by an idea. 
"This gentleman," said he to himself, "is the very 
man for Jehoiada." But aloud: "Uriel, my friend, 
you have mistook my direction. I shall have no 
sore. I am a person of no honor. But there is one 
Jehoiada Tompkins that pretends he is moved by the 
spirit — a very froward preacher that hath the mark 
of the beast upon his nose," 

"Give me word!" cried the barebacked gentle- 
man, "Is he of them that would testify unto the 
people?" 

"Very painfully he does so," said Colonel Stow. 

"It is against such I am sent, that they may gnaw 
their tongues in shame. Verily, I shall prophesy 
unto him even as the bite of a scorpion. Give me 
word of him." Colonel Stow gave a precise direc- 
tion. Straightway he went bounding the road, cry- 
ing: "Woe, woe, and a lake of fire!" 

Then Colonel Stow went in and made Royston 



CONCERNING THE ANGEL URIEL 79 

write him a letter, the which he put in his coat, and 
himself with some expedition followed the bare- 
backed gentleman. 

For my part, I judge Jehoiada Tompkins an hon- 
est man who strove earnestly to do his duty. It is 
not easy to like him the better. Lucinda, walking 
with her mother along the gallery of Stoke Manor, 
was surprised by the irruption of half his troop. 

"What is this new insolence?" she cried. 

"Cornet Tompkins would give his testimony. De- 
sire that you may have ears to hear," quoth a lank 
corporal. 

While the two women looked at each other in 
helpless disgust, others came flocking to the gallery 
— such of the peasants as were stern Puritans, such 
as had the gift of curiosity, all in their whitest 
smocks and finest woolsey, and the sergeants of the 
troop ushered them into an orderly array, while the 
troopers marshalled themselves in line of spiritual 
battle behind. Joan Normandy came, guided by a 
solemn giant in steel and buff", but her eyes went this 
way and that in a fashion less than devout. She was 
hoping to see Lucinda. There could be no doubt 
who it was in the silver dress with the proud lips. 
Joan flushed strangely and hurried by. 

It was a great company. The peasant folk came 
eagerly to spread themselves in the Manor hall. 
They felt the carved wainscot, the pictures, the gilt 
armor almost their own. Each one of them swelled 
as good as the gentry. Truly, the rule of the saints 



8o COLONEL GREATHEART 

was pleasant. But Cornet Tompkins was by no 
means minded to comfort them. With a large Bible 
and the swelling port of the preacher, he came. His 
breastplate gleamed like a mirror, the linen at his 
throat was spotless white, his face glowed and shone. 
He ascended a chair, glowered, and smacked his 
lips at the congregation. 

"Unto me, Jehoiada, the Lord's cornet, came a 
voice saying, 'Speak !' Then I knew it was an hour 
of wrath, and I cried aloud to you, 'Come unto me, 
that I may chasten you.' Verily, I will spare you no 
whit. I will scourge you with my tongue for your 
offenses, which are noisome unto me." 

And without doubt Cornet Tompkins had held the 
attention which he had thus worthily won, but on a 
sudden a shriek rang through the gallery. "Woe! 
Woe and a beast of horns!" Through one of the 
long windows came a shaggy head and a naked 
body that brandished haggard arms. "Come out! 
And again I say, come out! I am the Angel Uriel." 
With one eager impulse the whole congregation 
turned to him. "Behold the scarlet-colored beast!" 
he cried, pointing to the ruddy face of Cornet Tomp- 
kins. "I see him with seven heads and ten horns. 
I denounce him unto you. I publish his doom. I 
am the Angel Uriel. Come out from him, come out; 
for his name shall be called Magor Missabib." 

Cornet Tompkins was displeased. "Who is this 
that blasphemeth the Word?" said he with austere 
dignity. "Troop sergeant, away with him !" 



CONCERNING THE ANGEL URIEL 8i 

"I am the Angel Uriel !" the man screamed, toss- 
ing his shaggy head, whirling his bare arms aloft. 
"I have the light of the Word. Nor death nor hell 
prevail against me, nor that great beast, that old 
serpent. Come forth from the house of Rimmon 
and I will tell you a vision. Woe! Woe and the 
gnawing of tongues ! Come !" He leaped down to 
the ground, and in a weird voice crying, "Come, and 
I will show you the things that must be hereafter !" 
began to climb up a tree. 

And the congregation of Cornet Tompkins, used 
to seek the strangest ecstasies of religion, eager as 
the Athenians for some new thing, streamed out 
after him. Vainly Cornet Tompkins cried to them 
not to follow one possessed of devils. Their minds 
were in turmoil. When men were all equal and as 
good as the gentry, what might not be true? It was 
an age of many a wild creed, and many a man 
awaited eagerly a new revelation. But Cornet 
Tompkins, wroth for his unspoken sermon, cried 
out: "Sergeant Bunce, commit this man of Belial 
into ward !" 

The true Puritan temper that made each man free 
to preach his own faith knew nothing of such dis- 
cipline yet. The sergeant stood stiff. "I am a poor 
deacon of the Lord," said he, "and I will lay no 
hands upon one who comes in His name," and with 
that he, too, went off to hear of the vision. 

Cornet Tompkins was left with hardly two or 
three gathered together. He came down from his 



82 COLONEL GREATHEART 

chair and looked moodily at the scene without. 
There, high in a tree, like some strange bird of 
legend, the barebacked man swayed to and fro, 
screaming. It was a lurid, fantastic dream he had 
to tell, made up of scraps from the apocalypse and 
the prophets of denunciation, grotesquely twisted to 
suit the place and the time. But it was burning with 
something of a madman's faith, and it awed peasant 
and soldiery. They gazed at him in earnest. 

But Cornet Tompkins groaned as he thought of 
what they had lost. "Verily, this is an age of false 
prophets," said Cornet Tompkins, with shaking 
head, "and he hath seven devils." He looked upon 
Joan Normandy and the one or two that preferred 
sanity in their devotions who were left him, humbly 
expectant still. "To your tents, oh ye people of God. 
Let us pray that the truth may be made known." 

Now Joan Normand)-', as she was going out, came 
upon Colonel Stow. She gave him one swift look of 
surprise and hurried on. But Colonel Stow, smil- 
ing blandly, lounged into the gallery and there let 
fall a letter upon a window ledge. He was unseen, 
for of those left Cornet Tompkins was coming down 
the gallery, his head bowed and wagging in mourn- 
ing for his spoiled sermon, and Lucinda was waiting 
for him with an unkind smile. 

"I fear your soldiers have heard you preach be- 
|fore, sir," said she. 

Cornet Tompkins breathed heavily — his trade was 
sermons, not repartee — and glared at her, and she 



CONCERNING THE ANGEL URIEL 83 

laughed. Then, as he passed her, she saw Colonel 
Stow. But Colonel Stow, save for one swift glance 
that spoke, made no account of her, nor laughed. 
He approached Cornet Tompkins with a grave sym- 
pathy. "Sir," says he, "you despoil me of ,a refresh- 
ment I am come to hear the spirit move you, and 
you make me less sound than a sucking dove. You 
promise me bread and give me less than a stone." 

Cornet Tompkins turned upon him with a stony 
stare. "Mock not," he said in a hollow voice, "mock 
not, that ye be not mocked." 

His extreme discomfiture moved Colonel Stow to 
pity. "Sir," says he gravely, "you do me wrong. I 
am come but now to hear you, and I find naught to 
hear. Prithee, what prevents?"' 

Cornet Tompkins clutched him by the arm and led 
him to a window. "That prevents, sir." He pointed 
to the weird, half-naked creature yelling from the 
boughs, "That prevents. That demoniac. They 
are all gone after false prophets, and have no mind 
for the truth." 

Colonel Stow looked long. The gentleman was 
even more surprising than he had hoped. But he 
preserved a great gravity and shook his head. "I 
like it not," said he. "I like it not," and shook his 
head again. "I suspect him much." 

"Sir, I suspect him of the devil!" cried Cornet 
Tompkins. 

"I suspect him of playing the devil, which is 
worse." 



84 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Cornet Tompkins gasped. "Who would play the 
devil but one mad?" 

"I suspect him less mad than he would seem." 

Cornet Tompkins opened his mouth, and in that 
state tried to smile. It was impressive. "Sir," says 
he, "this is a precious thought." 

"Look you," Colonel Stow grew more earnest. 
"What is his errand? Why should he come here? 
Why seek you out?" 

"Sir," says Cornet Tompkins, melancholy again, 
" 'tis plain the devil would put me to shame." 

"I doubt the devil wears a King's coat when he Is 
at home," quoth Colonel Stow. "Sir, I see malig- 
nancy here. Take heed that he does no work of 
treason, ay, that he bears no missive from malig- 
nants." 

Cornet Tompkins was uplifted. "Sir, you say 
well!" he cried. "You are of a godly understand- 
ing. I will take guard. Yea, I will search him out." 

"You will do well, sir," said Colonel Stow with 
a grave enthusiasm, "Search everywhere that he 
hath been. I wish you well in it." So, well content, 
they parted. But when Cornet Tompkins meditated 
upon his search, he could not think the barebacked 
gentleman had been anywhere save at a window and 
up a tree. 

Away from the house, behind the hedge of roses, 
Colonel Stow found Lucinda. She gave him her 
hand with a smile. "Pray, how much are you in 
this?" 



CONCERNING THE ANGEL URIEL 85 

• 

"Nay," said Colonel Stow, "I only felt the gentle- 
man of no coat was made for Jehoiada. At least I 
see no other use in him. Oh, 'tis so. Jehoiada dis- 
likes him a merveille. I think him most wholesome 
for Jehoiada. But he is to me no more than a con- 
venience. Madame, will you ride to-night?" 

"To-night?" Her eyes glowed. "Oh, you are 
quick. How, then? What of the Puritans?" 

"I rely upon Jehoiada to abolish himself. 'Tis 
the best deed the poor man could do. Make no 
parade of going, madame. Have only your jewels 
and such small things to hand. We can take but 
your mother and you. And here must be no more 
words. We are foes before the world." 

Lucinda laughed deliciously. "I like to play with 
the world," she said. 

Meanwhile Cornet Tompkins had found upon the 
window ledge a letter that gave his heart delight. 
He was consoled for the lost sermon and all the tri- 
umph of the barebacked gentleman. But his sudden 
swift desire to catch this last was foiled, for the 
barebacked gentleman, who had been for some while 
speaking with tongues not his own, with no more 
warning hurled himself out of the tree and rushed 
wildly away, screaming that he was hunting Sathan- 
as. In which dangerous chase none then followed 
him, so much alarm had he made. But presently 
after, he came again, and for half a generation there 
was in Stoke and Weston Turberville (you may read 
of it in the pamphlets) a sect which prophesied by 



86 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the name of the Angel Uriel, and for his greater 
glory were scant of clothes, till Major General Fleet- 
wood, a person of orderly mind, laid hands on them 
and compelled them into prison or coats. For the 
which, despite threats, the angel showed no indig- 
nation. 



CHAPTER TEN 

CORNET TOMPKINS SNAPS AT A SHADOW 

COLONEL STOW came out from his father 
something grave. His father had omitted to 
wish him joy ; had also behaved with levity. 

"Ay, ay; a man will go when the woman calls. 
And I should like you less if you did not hear her. 
. . . Ay, a lad ought to be amusing. . . . And 
so you'll be for the King. With as fair reason as 
most, indeed. . . . Oons, there is wisdom in this 
war. ..." 

It seemed to Colonel Stow that some emotion 
would have been in better taste. He went with 
solemn zeal to inspect the work of Alcibiade and 
Matthieu-Marc, who had business concerning horses 
and saddles that was of importance, but needed 
darkness rather than light. 

The pervading mystery of it completed the alarm 
of Joan Normandy, suspicious already of the in- 
iquity of Colonel Royston and of Colonel Stow's 
visit to the ministrations of Cornet Tompkins. When 
Colonel Stow, desiring to contemplate peace, came 
to sit beside her in the porch, she received him with 
eyes of war. 

87 



88 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"You are required to love your enemies," Colonel 
Stow admonished her, "and for mere dignity you 
should smile at them," which he duly did. 

She was no better pleased. "I could like you 
better if you were an open enemy," she cried. 

"But it would be less amusing for me," Colonel 
Stow protested mildly. 

"At least I should not have to despise you and 
myself." 

"I can not conceive that we are so much alike. 
Pray, despise me alone; you will find it less an efTort. 
More just, also. For what, after all, have you to do 
with me?" 

Her cheeks were suddenly scarlet. "Ah!" It was 
like a cry of pain. "Ah, I would that I had never 
seen you !" 

"It flatters me that I should thus deeply affect 
you. But all is well. To-morrow you can believe 
that I have never lived." 

"You are going, then !" she cried angrily. 

"Your manner scarce Invites me to stay," Colonel 
Stow remarked. 

She flung out her hand to him in hot impatience. 
"Oh, Is all life a jeer and a cheat with you? Can 
you not be true to yourself?" 

"I do not understand the occasion of this homily," 
said Colonel Stow with dignity. 

Joan Normandy gave something of a sneering 
laugh. "Oh, you are very noble ! And you sham a 
friendship with our officer to tell him lies and cheat 



TOMPKINS SNAPS AT A SHADOW 89 

him again. I thought even malignants kept their 
honor. But you — " 

"Perhaps I may be some judge of a soldier's 
honor, too," said Colonel Stow coldly. "But if you 
have such a kindness for Jehoiada, child, go tell him 
I am cheating him." 

She turned upon him, gray eyes flaming fierce. 
"You know that I can not! And I ought! And I 
hate you !" she cried. "Oh, it is mean in you !" and 
she started up and sped to the house. 

Colonel Stow made figures in the ground with his 
heel and contemplated them gravely. To him thus 
engaged came Colonel Royston. "Do you meditate 
upon your own virtues, Jerry?" 

Colonel Stow looked up. "On the contrary," 
said he. 

As that day waned to sunset, Lucinda felt strange 
forces working about her. The troopers were busy 
with horses and arms. Cornet Tompkins, whom she 
was at some pains to observe, went with exultation 
in his gait and mysterious scripture upon his lips, 
as thus: "Troop major, of new powder to each 
man a flask full. Nay, I will put a hook in their 
mouths. See to it that the carbine locks be spanned. 
Verily, I will eat fat. Verily, the Lord is against 
thee, oh Gog." Lucinda was puzzled. It was hard 
in such spiritual emotions to find the practical hand 
of Colonel Stow. And all the day long Cornet 
Tompkins, bent upon a map of the shire, muttered 
more mysteries. "Moab shall be my wash-pot Over 



90 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Edom shall I cast out my shoe. Alack, Gog. Why 
tarry the wheels of his chariots, quo' she. Unto 
every man a damsel or two. 'Ha, ha,' said I to my 
soul, 'ha, ha.' I behold a wailing in Babylon." 

Not till the twilight, not till the troopers were 
mounting, he sought out Lucinda for her punish- 
ment. She was in her mother's withdrawing-room. 
He ground his heels into the white Bagdad carpet. 
"Woman," says he, his nose shining with emotion, 
"thou hast kicked against the pricks, and art full of 
wickedness even to the brim. I, Jehoiada, am ap- 
pointed to cast thee down. Go to. Humble thyself. 
Learn not to mock at the children of light. I have 
thy naughty paramour his letter, and this night he 
shall taste the bread of affliction." 

Lucinda was white in alarm. This was no sign of 
deliverance, but a new danger. "I have had no 
letter!" she cried. 

Cornet Tompkins allowed himself to laugh. "Ha, 
the peril of the Amalekite hurts thee in a tender 
part. Nay, woman, thou hast no letter, for I have 
it — I, Jehoiada, the cornet of the Lord. Would that 
I had the vile fellow that brought it. But it suffices. 
Thy portion of woe is assured. Harken — " and he 
read with mouthing sarcasm these surpriseful 
words : 

I must see you once yet before I go. Ride out to- 
night to the Monk's pool at Saunderton. Slip away 
from the Roundhead villains at sundov/n and I will 



TOMPKINS SNAPS AT A SHADOW 91 

await you. Once with me, have no more fear of the 
Roundheads. I have half a troop of Goring's horse 
to my back. They will watch over us, and we shall 
laugh at your sausage-nosed Puritan — 

Here Cornet Tompkins stopped to ejaculate: 
"Oh, Gog, Gog, verily, I will leave but the sixth 
part of thee !" and he snorted at Lucinda and went 
on: 

Nay, come with me, my life, and you shall be free 
of him and his kind for ever. 

Thy true lover, 
From the Bird in Hand G. B. 

At Chinnor. 

(This last, in the warmer style, being Colonel 
Royston's private effort to add probability to the 
chilly swain of Colonel Stow's design. ) 

Cornet Tompkins grinned triumphant, and his 
face shone like a ruddy moon. Lucinda was troubled. 
The letter was truly mad enough to be Gilbert 
Bourne's own. She was mightily angry with him. 
That he should confuse the plans of Colonel Stow 
and keep her still a prisoner to this maddening 
Puritan soldier was an infamous folly. She flamed 
at Cornet Tompkins in an unlovely fierceness, like a 
trapped beast, and he grinned the more. "Verily, 
verily, the iron enters into thee and saws thy soul 
asunder. This it is to wanton with Amalekites." 
He flaunted the letter before her, and Lucinda was 



92 COLONEL GREATHEART 

suddenly white and bit her lip on a cry. For she 
saw the writing, and it was not by Mr. Bourne. 
Cornet Tompkins mistook her emotion. "Oh, thou 
naughty member!" he cried. "Shameless art thou 
in thy affections for this Assyrian ! Oh, Aholah and 
Aholibah !" 

Lucinda snatched her fan from the table and with 
it slashed at his eyes. "That is the woman's answer, 
fellow !" she cried. "Go, get the man's !" 

Cornet Tompkins, half blind with undesired tears, 
stepped back unsteadily. "Wanton, wanton, I go!" 
he cried, "and thou shalt see thy lover in chains, yea, 
in fetters of iron, till I hang him high as Haman 
before thy threshold for an abomination and a spy !" 
Cornet Tompkins loved a rounded sentence. He 
wiped away his tears and strode with dignity to the 
door. 

Lucinda turned to see her mother crying gently, 
and made an impatient ejaculation at such folly. 
"Yon — ^you never valued him, Lucinda," said my 
Lady Weston, sobbing the more. "But — ^but I would 
I were his mother." She referred to Mr. Bourne. 
Lucinda was not concerned in such fruitless emo- 
tions. While she was hurrying to the window to 
know what meant the noise of the troopers' parade, 
two stalked in and without a word sat themselves 
down on either side the door. Lucinda had hardly 
turned upon them before a word of command rang 
without, and she saw the mounted company wheel 
and swing away through the dusk. Cornet Tomp- 



TOMPKINS SNAPS AT A SHADOW 93 

kins took due strength to deal with that half troop 
of Goring's horse. Then Lucinda made to run out, 
but one of her guards rose up against her. "Woman, 
we are bidden guard you in our presence, and 
though you be an evil sight to a man of faith, yet 
will we do it." 

Lucinda recoiled all quivering with impatience. 
The other trooper looked at her and groaned, and 
shook his head and groaned. "It were well to com- 
fort our souls with a savory exercise," said he, and 
in a gloomy nasal tone began to recite the mystic 
parts of Jeremiah. You conceive how he soothed 
the straining nerves of Lucinda. 

But the dull sound of Cornet Tompkins' horse- 
men had hardly died away when there was a swift 
scurry over the turf, and even as the recitation of 
Jeremiah was cut off and its giver moved swiftly to 
the window, Colonel Stow came in, flushed with in- 
genuous agitation. "Good sir, give me word! Is 
Cornet Tompkins within ?" says he breathless to the 
first trooper, who shook a solemn head. "Oh, luck- 
less day!" cried Colonel Stow. "His troop major, 
then, or a sergeant?" 

"Brother, they be gone out to capture an Amale- 
kite, and we only are left. Is it a matter of war?" 

"Alack," said Colonel Stow, who was swaying a 
little upon his toes, "I fear you may think it so," and 
as he spoke let drive at the man's chin, and, whirling 
round, met his comrade's rush with another shoulder 
blow. The first was hardly fallen before Colonel 



94 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Royston was upon him and had a noose round his 
arms and a kerchief in his mouth. Swift and neat 
likewise Colonel Stow dealt with the other. My 
Lady Weston screamed her fright, and Lucinda chid 
her angrily to silence. Fitly trussed and gagged, 
those two hapless troopers were propped up against 
the door-posts to contemplate each other. 

Colonel Stow, flushed still, but now purely calm, 
made his bow to my Lady Weston. "Such affairs 
must always give pain to persons of sensibility, my 
lady; but I trust we have not been indelicate. Pray, 
will you ride? Time is short." Then Lucinda 
whirled her mother away to cloak, and as she passed 
Colonel Stow she held out her hand. His lips ca- 
ressed it, and one of the hapless troopers was heard 
to groan. 

With him Colonel Royston remonstrated. "Be- 
lieve me, you are less hurt than you suppose, and 
you should be more grateful than you look. I have 
never seen a neater surprise. It should be an educa- 
tion to you in tactics — which most men only learn by 
death — an expensive method I would not urge upon 
you, unless you would die for pure philanthropy." 

"Come away, George," said Colonel Stow gruffly, 
watching the two helpless men. His friend's man- 
ners displeased him at whiles. 

Out in the gathering dark Alcibiade and Mat- 
thieu-Marc waited with four good horses beside 
their own. Colonel Stow swept a swift glance over 
the sky. It was clear enough to find the stars if need 



TOMPKINS SNAPS AT A SHADOW 95 

were. He laughed. "Night and a ride through the 
enemy's quarters. What more should a man want?" 

"I want less," Colonel Royston admitted. "A 
woman or so less." 

Wherewith the women came, cloaked heavily, 
each with a large and weighty casket. Colonel Stow 
took Lucinda. My Lady Weston was crying still, 
which Colonel Royston observing, "Nay, my lady, 
'tis hard enough to quit home," says he gently 
enough. Anything of the mother would always 
mellow him. "But you should count on coming 
again when these rascals are beaten." 

"I do not care where I go," said she feebly. "It is 
Mr. Bourne." 

"Oh! Mr. Bourne is more safe than yourself. * 
That matter of the letter was a ruse of ours to get 
the Roundheads away." 

She stared at him, endeavoring to grasp this. She 
was not quick of wit. Then she gave it up with a. 
sigh. Turning to her horse, she saw Lucinda in 
Colonel Stow's arms as he swung her to the saddle. 
"I wish it were Mr. Bourne," she murmured to her- 
self, and was more lachrymose. 

Colonel Royston was not sure that he differed. 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

COLONEL ROYSTON DESERTS A LADY 

THE sky was darkly gray, set with rare stars. 
They rode through murmurous gloom. Warm 
wind of the passion of spring moved about them. 
Close to the strength of that square shoulder, breath- 
ing the strange throbbing scents of the night, 
Lucinda smiled and her bosom was quick. . . . 
Life was good. Life was good. She had conquered, 
she and the man. He had broken all her chains, he 
made all bow to her. She felt in her the wild force 
of the world beat free. ... It surged in Colonel 
Stow, too. Every nerve in him was aware and glad 
of her eager womanhood. He had won the best of 
life. . . . He never knew of the white face behind 
a window of his home that yearned after him 
through the dark, through tears. 

From the heavy gloom of the lane they came sud- 
denly to blither air, to the wide freedom of the vale. 
All about them the dewy, flower-studded meadows 
bore a strange ethereal light. Lucinda gave a little 
glad cry, like a happy child. Then, as Colonel Stow 

96 



COLONEL ROYSTON DESERTS A LADY 97 

turned to her, she saw the flash of his eyes and was 
breathless. "Oh, it is life, it is life with you," she 
murmured. 

"I live to make your life," he said. 

"I — I did not know I could feel this. ... I am 
glad, glad ! It is to have all the power of the world 
in me." 

"I am no man without you. And you without me 
no woman. Now — now we are lords of life." 

She laughed a little. "You and I," ,and laughed 
again gladly. They were riding close as troopers in 
the charge. Her shoulder touched his lightly, and 
again. "Oh, the night and the joy of the night!" 
she cried. He could see the surge of her bosom, the 
silvery cloud of her breath, and her lips dark in the 
white comeliness beneath her hood. 

"Sure, this is our birth night." 

"All's new indeed. Yes, and all life is for us. 
Ah, what does a maid know?" 

"Nay, not even what she hath to give." 

"And you," she turned upon him in a quick im- 
pulse, then gave a queer, scornful laugh. "Do you 
know naught of yourself? 'Tis you make my heart 
wild — you! You! You are strong; you are sure. 
You force things to your will — lightly, lightly, and 
laugh." Swiftly she flung her hand to him, and as 
he gripped it and crushed it against his lips : "Oh, 
ay," she said in a voice of miserable mirth. "Oh, 
ay, 'tis yours." 

"If I take I give," he said. 



98 COLONEL GREATHEART 

She looked at him while they rode far. Then she 
caught his hand and kissed it fiercely. "So. It is 
so," she muttered. Then with a wild Laugh: "Oh, 
there is power in us — power!" 

"You are born for that." He gripped her hand 
till she bit her lip for the pain. "Woman, woman of 
my need." 

"Yes! Ah, yes! All the world is yes to us now. 
There is naught denied. Oh, you master me, and I 
am master of all in you I" 

He leaned out of his saddle, he flung his arm 
about her, and she swayed lithe and glad in the hard 
strength of it. Her lips were parted in a strange 
smile. 

"There is match light on the right front," said 
Colonel Royston. 

Colonel Stow let her go easily. "Rein up," he 
said, and peered along Royston's pointing arm. 
Tiny specks of yellow played will-o'-the-wisp far 
off. "They fling pickets wide at Aylesbury," he said 
calmly, and looked up at the stars. It was grass 
country and studded with trees, but open on either 
hand. "Take the women, George. Bear away to 
the south. Alcibiade!" But while Royston, with a 
sharp, "By the left and with spur!" hurried my lady 
and Lucinda before him, and set their horses to a 
sharper pace, the specks of yellow were gathering, 
and there came the sound of steel. 

"Is there danger?" said Lucinda under her 
breath. 



COLONEL ROYSTON DESERTS A LADY 99 

Colonel Royston laughed. "With a lady, madame, 
there is always danger." 

"I have no fear, sir," she cried angrily. 

"That is why you are dangerous," said Colonel 
Royston. 

"Is Colonel Stow in danger?" she insisted, im- 
perious. 

"If you had never thought of him, it might have 
been kind," said Colonel Royston sourly. "To think 
of him now is rriere impediment." Lucinda looked 
at him long. 

It is likely that Colonel Royston, being a friend, 
would have borne hard on any woman who dared an 
affection for Colonel Stow, and this woman heated 
his blood all out of reason. With amused disgust he 
did his best for her, drove her on swift over the 
meadows, down hill toward Ford brook. There was 
need. 

Challenges rang out behind them. The yellow 
gleams of the musketeers' matches were multiplied. 
They heard the mingled din of a troop of horse. 
"I'gad," muttered Colonel Royston with a doleful 
chuckle, "we'll have turned out the whole com- 
mand." And indeed the meadows were aflame far 
and wide. There was a storm of shouting, orders 
and oaths; then, amid all the stars of yellow light, 
the blue flash of powder and volley on volley of 
musketry. Colonel Royston made up his mind. 
"God be with you," says he, "for I shall not." And 
he reined up sharp and went back for his friend. 



lOO COLONEL GREATHEART 

But before he had gone far, while the musketry 
still raged furiously, he came upon Colonel Stow 
and Alcibiade riding at easy speed. "En avant, 
George," says Colonel Stow with a laugh. "They 
will be engaged some while yet. Trees never sur- 
render, and there is plenty of match." 

Colonel Royston understood. It was a proved de- 
vice of the German wars. A few links of match, 
close twisted tow, tied to tree boughs and lit, were 
as good by night as a battalion of musketry. The 
Puritan picket, daring not advance on such a force, 
was still firing heavily. 

"Faith," says Colonel Royston, "I'll never more 
be such a fool as to suppose you need me, Jerry," 
and they drew up to the women. 

Lucinda turned quick on Colonel Stow, and he 
smiled to her. Then she laughed out. "Oh, I am a 
fool to fear," said she. "And yet, and yet there was 
a gallant gentleman here feared for you, too. But I 
should be wiser." 

"You flatter me, madame," said Colonel Royston 
bluntly. "I had not begun to fear. But I love him 
better than I love you." 

"And I like you for that," said Lucinda, and 
looked at Colonel Royston for the second time. 

"But he'll soon be of another faith," said Colonel 
Stow, then suddenly turned with his ear to the wind. 
"Hark!" 

The rattle of musketry had fallen fainter, and 



COLONEL ROYSTON DESERTS A LADY loi 

now it was wrapped in another sound — singing, a 
swelling chant. 

"Indeed, this is a glorious victory for a Te 
Deum," said Lucinda through mirth. 

"That is not the picket, but an army," quoth Roy- 
ston. "Silent!" 

There was no doubt of it. Slow, majestic, deep- 
throated, it was borne down wind : 

All people that on earth do dwell 

Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice; 

Him serve with mirth, His praise forthtell, 
Come ye before Him and rejoice. 

Know that the Lord is God indeed, 
Without our aid He did us make; 

We are His flock. He doth us feed, 
And for His sheep He doth us take. 

The two soldiers looked at each other with an un- 
spoken question. Colonel Royston had heard that 
psalm rise from the sodden plain of Breitenfeld 
when Gustavus smote the Catholic army to death. 
Now it came from his foes. 

Colonel Stow drew close to Lucinda again. She 
had no fear. Lithe and gay she rode, and often she 
smiled, and often spoke to him softly. So they came 
through the night, past ghostly villages and church 
towers that loomed in mid-air. With wet feet they 
made across the dark ford below Waterperry and 



I02 COLONEL GREATHEART 

climbed the shadowed lane till the wind was cold 
from the hills and the moon rose close upon dawn. 
A faint blue light came over all, and through it they 
moved weirdly, like creatures of dream. 

My Lady Weston was swaying in her saddle as 
they rose by the steep track to Shotover, and Colonel 
Royston, gentle enough with her, gave her the stay 
of his arm. But Lucinda rode light. She was pale 
indeed, but her eyes shone like stars in a windy sky. 
Before they were over the hilltop the dawn was 
white and the moon's crescent no more than a pale 
glimmer of cloud in its midst. Lucinda turned to 
the call of Colonel Stow's eyes. But a shadow came 
over her face, and she sighed. "I did not want the 
day," she said. 

Far below, caught in a girdle of white mist, lay 
Oxford, walls and spires rising through lucid air, a 
city wrought in silver. 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

COLONEL STOW MAKES A MISTAKE 

/'^XFORD was strangely alive. The undergrad- 
— ^ uates had been driven from their colleges to 
make room for loyal souls who could buy a lodging 
dear. The quadrangle of Merton was gay with the 
Queen's ladies. Christ Church cloisters rang with 
the quarrels of the King's Council. Each gray gate- 
way from Worcester to Queen's, each sedate lawn 
and dark stair, glowed with the pomp of women, 
echoed the statesmanship of zealous men, clashed 
and rustled with silk and steel. 

Oxford had the fashion and business of a capital. 
Queen Henrietta and Madame Saccharissa devised 
new stomachers each week, and my Lord Digby 
exhibited a pretty conceit in hose. The mill of the 
King's mint rumbled in New Inn. Some fragment 
of Lords and Commons, a ghost of a parliament, 
met in the Schools and played at making laws. My 
Lord Keeper gave justice to silly loyal suitors in the 
Convocation House. Above all this rang the real 
note of war. An ugly army of sakers and demi- 
culverins wore the turf of Magdalen, and their 
swarthy Italian gunners made a barrack of the 

103 



I04 COLONEL GREATHEART 

cloister quadrangle. Forges glowed in New College, 
where the armorers wrought the pike heads anew 
and struggled with the snaps and locks of the cara- 
bines. The meadows by the Cherwell were white 
with tents. Tall pikemen in corselet and morion, 
little musketeers, armorless, and like mushrooms 
under their spreading felt hats, blue-coated, big- 
booted troopers swaggered in disorderly array all 
across the High Street. Without, on the old walls 
and the new drawn lines of defense, the under- 
graduates labored with mattock and spade, grum- 
bling but perforce, save such as could find twelve 
pence a day to pay the cost of the war. 

Colonel Royston spoke unkind words of this pie- 
bald town. As a court he held it mean. As a camp 
he condemned it for gaudy. He desired leave to go 
into the country and see the flowers grow. Where- 
by it happened that they came into the Christ 
Church meadows to see a resplendent throng tram- 
pling the fritillarias. But Colonel Royston would 
not be comforted. "They look like peacocks," he 
complained; "they sound like peacocks. But pea- 
cocks have brains. I have eaten them in Milano." 

Down a lane of bared heads and curtsies came 
one of picturesque gait and a garb of much art — 
black velvet with cloth of silver. None could have 
answered a salute with more grace. Colonel Roy- 
ston, erect as on parade, looked keenly at this elab- 
orate person ; he found sentimental eyes and a 
narrow brow. "I have known kings," said he, "and 



COLONEL STOW MAKES A MISTAKE 105 

that is not one." King Charles went on through 
his worshipers. Colonel Stow, it is likely, felt a 
desire to help him. 

Going easily amid the loyal company, they 
came upon one of a southern splendor. His hat and 
feather were of a vivid blue, and pale blue the wide 
lace collar that fell over his crimson coat; his crim- 
son hose ended in a foam of lace that filled the tops 
of his walking boots. All this belonged to a dark, 
lean, scarred face. 

"Strozzi !" said Colonel Royston calmly. "I 
thought you were hanged." 

The Italian smiled. "So did Wallenstein. And 
now, having got to hell, doubtless he misses me. 
But one can not be always obliging. I bribed Wal- 
ter Butler to hang a Greek instead." 

"I never liked Butler," said Royston. 

"You are quite right, my friend," the Italian 
agreed pleasantly. "I do not make the world agree- 
able for others." 

"How are you damaging it here?" said Colonel 
Stow. 

"I am colonel in the regiment of artillery. And 
what have you the felicity to be, gentlemen ?" 

"We are ourselves. Tell us what there is a chance 
to be." 

The Italian looked at them swiftly, inserted him- 
self between them, and drew them aside. "My 
friends," said he, "there is a great chance to be 
nothing. Look! You think here is an army — " 



io6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Not the least," said Colonel Royston. "I think 
here is a herd." 

"And a herd of swine," quoth the Italian, then 
looked at him with cunning. "But then, my dear 
friend, why are you here?" 

"Strozzi," said Colonel Royston sternly, "we fight 
for our rightful King." 

"Do not talk imbecilities," said the Italian. He 
drew them farther away from the throng, and his 
voice fell. "You are come to spy for the others, eh? 
. . , Oh, do not play at being angry. I have had 
a mind to do it myself." 

"My dear Strozzi," said Colonel Stow, "you do us 
too much honor in thinking us like yourself." 

The Italian shrugged. "You might as well be 
frank. I would join you, and I should be some use." 

"I am always frank with you, Strozzi," said 
Colonel Stow in a tone of gentle reproach, "because 
I know nothing puzzles you so much. And this is 
the pure truth: We have come to fight for the 
King." 

"Then you make the mistake of a fool," said the 
Italian, not without satisfaction. 

"This is encouraging," said Colonel Royston 
cheerfully. "If we will not be knaves we are plainly 
fools." 

"Oh, I suppose you would have joined Tilly after 
Leipslc. Have you not heard of the battle in the 
north on the Marston Moor? That wooden-head 
Rupert flung his army away, and half England is 



COLONEL STOW MAKES A MISTAKE 107 

lost to the King. Wait a little. We shall lose the 
other quite easily." 

The two looked at each other. Here was the 
reason of that Puritan psalm of triumph. "I wonder 
if we haVe taken a wrong turning, Jerry," said 
Colonel Royston aloud, but in his heart he was won- 
dering how loyal Lucinda would be if she saw the 
Puritans conquering. 

"Bah, 'tis a lost cause," said Strozzi. 

"I like it the better," said Colonel Stow. But 
Colonel Royston confessed himself of a different 
temper. 

While he spoke they saw a man walking like 
themselves apart from the rest. He was a big fellow 
in a scarlet coat, something sparkish in his dress. 
But his hat was over his brows, and his dark, hand- 
some face lined with pain. The courtier throng 
was staring at him and laughing, and flinging jeers, 
"The Palatine looks for his army! His Highness 
meditates new glory! Rupert le Diable flees from 
the Saints !" 

But Prince Rupert strode by the mockery, alone, 
unheeding. 

Colonel Stow took a pace forward, drew himself 
up and saluted. 

The dark eyes flashed at him. Then Prince Ru- 
pert touched his hat and strode on. 

Strozzi was laughing. "You make a mistake, my 
friend. The Palatine will never do anything." 

"Perhaps I like mistakes," said Colonel Stow. 



4 
CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

MR. BOURNE IS SORRY 

MY LADY WESTON had found lodging in 
Holywell. Therein Colonel Royston was do- 
ing his best to amuse her while Colonel Stow sought 
her daughter. There was a tiny garden girt with 
gray stone that bore red wallflowers, and Lucinda 
took her ease in it. She lay back in her chair white- 
clad, and her lithe strength gave all its grace. In a 
rich glow the curls clustered about her brow. Bare 
neck and shoulder, darker than her dress, as if a 
mellow light fell about them, were delicately 
wrought, instinct with life. 

"Indeed, you have a wonder of glory to give," 
said Colonel Stow in a low voice. 

A shadow crossed her face. He was perhaps too 
much in the vein of Mr. Bourne. But, "If I give, I 
give all," she said, and her gay eyes challenged him. 

"I could not take less." 

"Are you strong enough to use all of me?" she 
laughed. 

"Is there a power you have I can not help?" 

"I wonder." She looked at him long. "Some- 
io8 



MR. BOURNE IS SORRY 109 

times it seems you can set all of me free to be strong 
and glad. The night — ah, the night was dear ! But 
it is day now. And sometimes — I wonder — ^there 
are needs in me you do not give, and I want more 
than you." Colonel Stow did not understand. This 
differed too vastly from the mood of the night, and 
the mood of the night was his always. He was a 
man, and simply made. More than once in life a 
woman's candor puzzled him. While she looked at 
him an innocent question, he was miserably grave — 
so miserable that she broke out laughing. "Sure, 
sir, you'll not bear it hard that a woman should find 
it tiresome to love one man? 'Tis churlish !" 

Colonel Stow endeavored to laugh with her. "If 
you need another, I'll forgive you, but not myself." 

"I'll have no forgiveness," said she gaily. " 'Tis 
as sour as pity. If you can forgive, you can not love. 
And all I do is right." 

"I heartily believe it," said Colonel Stow. 

"Alack, poor soul," quoth she. 

"Wherefore you will do my will," said Colonel 
Stow calmly. 

She laughed deliciously. "I can love you for 
that." 

Before she guessed, he crushed her against him 
and kissed her. " 'Tis agreed," said he. 

Her neck was rosy. There was wicked mirth in 
her eyes. "Indeed, that was timely," said she, and 
Colonel Stow beheld Mr. Bourne. 

Mr. Bourne was a better man than woman. His 



no COLONEL GREATHEART 

shoulders set with a style. He stood a fair, sturdy 
Lad, sure of himself. "I had not hoped for this, 
madame. It is a rare delight, but — " 

"Nay, I fear it will be scarce that," Lucinda mur- 
mured, with a swift, mischievous glance for Colonel 
Stow. 

"But I fear these villains distressed you at Stoke?" 

Lucinda lay back with one slight arm behind her 
head. "If you ask why I have come here, sir, faith, 
I can not tell you," and, smiling wickedly, she looked 
from one man to the other. "Nay, it puzzles me. 
But I think you know each other's quality." 

Upon which neat hint Mr. Bourne admitted the 
existence of Colonel Stow in a brief bow. Colonel 
Stow was more polite. "My compliments upon your 
transfiguration, sir," says he. "At least you now 
look real. It is a beginning. We have all to be in- 
fants once." 

Mr. Bourne flushed and glared — and reverted to 
Lucinda, "I trust you have not been in danger 
through me, madame?" 

"I shall always be glad you came to me," said 
Lucinda in a low voice, and while Mr. Bourne 
flushed again for delight she smiled and looked up 
at Colonel Stow. 

"Indeed, the lad has helped us to a night for 
which we must always be grateful," said Colonel 
Stow with an intimate air. 

"Are you so sure?" and he saw that strange faint 
smile of hers. 



MR. BOURNE IS SORRY in 

"Sir," says Mr. Bourne with some heat, "I have a 
name, and I would thank you to call me by it" 

Colonel Stow bowed. "I could not suppose you 
were proud of it," he explained politely. 

"For the service you have done Mistress Weston, 
sir," cried Mr. Bourne, much wroth, "I thank you; 
but—" 

"I wonder if you will," said Lucinda softly. 

"It were, perhaps, better, madame," said Colonel 
Stow, still with his maddening air of intimacy, "if 
Mr. Bourne stayed away from your presence till he 
grows up." 

Lucinda laughed. Mr. Bourne, crimson and stam- 
mering, approached Colonel Stow, his hand on his 
sword. "I am sure my mother needs me more than 
you, gentlemen," said Lucinda and fled away. 

Mr. Bourne was left confronting Colonel Stow, 
breast almost upon breast. He was plainly in the ex- 
treme of wrath ; Colonel Stow as plainly calm. 

"There must be an explanation between us, sir," 
said Mr. Bourne hoarsely. 

"I am afraid you are a little dull, Mr. Bourne." 

"Understand me, sir," cried Mr. Bourne, tapping 
the cup hilt of his sword. 

"Oh, I understand you. I wish you could under- 
stand anything else." 

"I invite you to a walk in the meadow, sir." 

"Soit," said Colonel Stow calmly. "I assure you 
we shall both come back." 

Mr. Bourne leading at a high and haughty gait. 



112 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Stow following with his natural sobriety, 
they strode out of the house and off down Long 
Wall. From behind a curtained casement Lucinda 
watched them go, and her eyes sparkled joy. Then 
she ran off to Colonel Royston. 

Half way down Long Wall Mr. Bourne turned on 
Colonel Stow. "There is good ground between Mer- 
ton Garden and the Cherwell, sir, where we are not 
like to be disturbed." Colonel Stow bowed. "An- 
other matter, sir. If this be not bloodless we shall 
be required to give a cause for the quarrel. You will 
concede that a lady's name should not be made vul- 
gar." 

"You take yourself too seriously, Mr. Bourne," 
said Colonel Stow with a smile. "But if your dignity 
needs a fairy tale, why, as I remember, your indig- 
nation began at some talk of babes. Let us say we 
disagree concerning the fashion of babies' clothes." 

Mr. Bourne made an angry exclamation, and, 
turning, strode fiercely on. 

Close upon Cherwell bank, where the kingcups 
glowed, they found short grass and the light falling 
fair through the willows. Mr. Bourne was for en- 
gaging at once. "Do you insist that I should sweat?" 
said Colonel Stow plaintively, and made a gesture of 
taking off his coat 

"As you will and how you will, sir," cried Mr. 
Bourne. "Prithee, do not delay." 

"There is plenty of time in your life yet, believe 



MR. BOURNE IS SORRY 113 

me," said Colonel Stow, and was meticulous in fold- 
ing his coat. 

The swords crossed. Gilbert Bourne came on 
with fierce vigor and skill. He had the best of the 
English style. Colonel Stow knew that and some 
others, but Mr. Bourne exercised him. It was neces- 
sary to check the lad's fervor. After a parry of 
prime Mr. Bourne drew back his blade to make a 
complicated attack. Colonel Stow gave point in a 
stop thrust. It was all but home in the throat. Mr. 
Bourne came on, fighting keenly, and more keenly 
still as his blade was countered again and again, till 
his play was more fierce than safe. To one wild 
rush Colonel Stow threw back his left foot and 
dropped his body. While Mr. Bourne's blade 
gleamed idle over his head, he straightened his arm 
and his point shot round Mr. Bourne's side, cutting 
a neat line in the lace shirt. It might as easily have 
been in the heart. Mr. Bourne knew that as well as 
Colonel Stow. He recovered and sprang back, and 
hesitated a moment, his eyes searching Colonel 
Stow's amiable face. Then he came«on again, but 
with more caution, and Colonel Stow found a use 
for all his skill. Mr. Bourne was fighting for his 
sword's honor. His anger was under the curb. He 
called on himself for every trick of the art, and he 
had more of the quickness of the schools than re- 
mained with the soldier of many campaigns. Colonel 
Stow was pressed hard. He fought it out coolly. He 



114 COLONEL GREATHEART 

could trust his strength to see Mr. Bourne weaken. 
But each minute had close perils. 

"Thunder of God!" It was a rattling German 
oath, and with it the swords were struck up and a 
big fellow sprang between them. "Is there no foe 
without, that cavaliers should fight each other like 
rams? Put up your iron, Gilbert." It was Prince 
Rupert 

" 'Tis an affair of honor, sir," said Gilbert sulkily. 

"Your honor is to obey. Put up, man, or you have 
to do with Rupert. Who is this gentleman ? Ah !" 
He knew the man who had saluted him. "Who are 
you?" 

Colonel Stow made his salute again. "Jeremiah 
Stow, sir, lately colonel in the service of the Duke 
of Weimar, and anxious to be in yours." 

"So." The dark brows bent. "And in whose 
service are you killing Mr. Bourne?" 

Colonel Stow laughed. "Sir, if you saw our last 
passes, you must know it was not Mr. Bourne who 
was like to need a coffin." 

"Indeed, sir," says Mr. Bourne, "Colonel Stow 
fights to please me, not himself — and hath shown 
more courtesy than I." 

"So." Prince Rupert looked from one to the 
other. "What is the quarrel ?" 

Colonel Stow smiled with intention on Mr. 
Bourne, who blushed furiously. "Why, sir, there is 
an age when a man hates to be called a boy, and 
longs to be taken solemnly. I have offended Mr. 



MR. BOURNE IS SORRY 115 

Bourne in both parts. I have no gift for being 
solemn, but I will promise Mr. Bourne to do my best 
with him hereafter. His sword-play is at least no 
jest." 

"Colonel Stow does himself an injustice, sir," said 
Mr. Bourne quickly. "If he had willed it I had been 
on the turf." 

"Faith," quoth Prince Rupert, clapping a hand 
on either shoulder, "you are neither slaughterers in 
earnest, and you do yourselves an injustice to play 
at it. I will see you join hands." 

"I shall be glad if Mr. Bourne can be my friend," 
said Colonel Stow. 

Mr. Bourne flushed — a struggle was plain in him 
— then suddenly he gripped Colonel Stow's hand. 
"You are always to outdo me," he said in a low 
voice. Then turned to Prince Rupert. "Indeed, sir, 
I owe more to Colonel Stow than I can repay. I 
would pray your Highness to consider his claims, 
for I can warrant him a soldier of courage and re- 
source," and to the embarrassment of Colonel Stow 
he related the entanglement of Cornet Tompkins. 

"I'gad, sir, you are a man for me," cried Prince 
Rupert. "What was your service in Germany?" 

"I can send your Highness letters from the Duke 
of Weimar and Oxenstierna." 

"Do so, and you shall hear from me," Prince 
Rupert held out his hand. 

"I am your Highness' servant — and, if I may 
speak of him, my comrade. Colonel Royston, who is 



ii6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

as good a soldier as myself and of longer service, 
seeks a commission, too." 

"Let me have his papers. We need men." 
Touching his hat, the Prince swung away. 

"I think we are quits now, Mr. Bourne," said 
Colonel Stow with a smile. 

"There is the other matter," said Mr. Bourne. 
The two men looked in each other's eyes. 

"Sir, I fear you have mistook a kindness for some- 
thing more," said Colonel Stow. 

"You conceive that Mistress Weston honors your 
affection?" Mr. Bourne cried. 

"Sir, I am very sure of it." 

There was pity in Mr. Bourne's smile. "I am 
sorry," he said gently ; "she is pledged to me." 

"You mistake," said Colonel Stow. Again they 
looked at each other a while, silent. "You will agree 
that she should best know?" said Colonel Stow, with 
something of a whimsical smile. 

Mr. Bourne looked pity again. "I am sorry," he 
said. "I am sorry." 

Colonel Stow found him irritating, and was glad 
that the chapel bells alarmed him, and he fled to his 
post in the King's Guard. 

Colonel Stow went off to speak with Lucinda. He 
did not see any humor in the affair. 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

COLONEL ROYSTON STAYS BY A LADY 

WITHOUT ceremony Lucinda drew Colonel 
Royston away from her mother. "I must 
speak with you at once, sir." Colonel Royston pre- 
tended no pleasure as he rose. My Lady Weston 
was left alone in that placid unhappiness she knew 
best. Colonel Royston was taken to the garden. 
"Sir, your friend and Mr. Bourne are gone away in 
anger together, for a duello, as I believe." 

Colonel Royston allowed himself the smile of a 
cynic. "I congratulate you," said he. 

He brought the blood to her cheeks. "You are 
insolent, sir," she cried. 

"It is amusing," said Colonel Royston. 

Lucinda stared at him. He was a new kind of 
man. And to her, it may be, his roughness was 
strength. At least he challenged her, and she was 
ready. "You are little concerned for your friend," 
she said with a sneer. 

"My concern is for the other gentleman," said 
Colonel Royston grimly. "So I will preserve your 
own admirable calm." 

117 



ii8 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Pray, why should 1 be troubled by their dan- 
ger?" she cried. 

"God forbid I should help you to emotion," said 
Colonel Royston heartily. "Yet each of these two 
silly gentlemen has run some small risk of life for 
you." 

"And am I not worth a risk?" she said softly. 
She faced him, lithe and white, with a strange, 
mocking smile. 

"If you did not think you were you might be," 
said Colonel Royston. 

"Am I the weaker for knowing myself?" 

"Is any man the stronger for knowing you?" 

"You do not answer," she said gently. "You only 
hate me. Why ?" 

"It happens that you were made for that," said 
Colonel Royston. 

"Because I have won your friend?" And the 
fire went out of her eyes, and they were grave and 
kindly. 

"Because you have won what you can not value." 

"Perhaps I know," she said in a low voice. "Per- 
haps I — I am sorry. . . . Oh, I would I were 
more than I am, or less." Colonel Royston was sur- 
prised at the subtlety, and turned to face her. "Is 
it my fault a man should love me?" she said, with 
something of a sad smile. 

"Ay, and his ill fortune," replied Colonel Roy- 
ston. 

"Oh, your words try only to strike !" she cried, her 



COLONEL ROYSTON STAYS BY A LADY 1 19 

brow drawn. "Why should it please you to hurt 
me?" and her throat quivered. 

"I am no man for women, madame," said Colonel 
Royston gruffly. "We are best apart," but he did 
not go, and his face was set in a dark frown as he 
looked down at her. 

"Nay, why will you hate me?" she cried. "What 
wrong have I done?" 

"It were well you should be faithful to my 
friend," said Colonel Royston. 

Her cheeks flamed. She was erect and proud- 
eyed. "When I plight faith I shall keep it," she said. 
Then on a sudden pressed her hand to her temple. 
"Oh, I know, I know!" she cried. "He is noble — 
nobler than I, I think. And yet — and yet — ah, can 
you guess how a woman yearns for strength, hard, 
cruel strength?" 

It was a shot that hit the white. Colonel Royston 
himself thought his friend too kindly — loved him, 
perhaps, for the weakness, yet thought him less. 
Himself, being hard enough, was the greater in his 
own eyes. He smiled upon her for her good taste in 
men. But he was still loyal. "You will find Colonel 
Stow strong enough, madame," said he. 

"I can not tell," she murmured. "And I would 
not hurt him. It is difficult." She was pale, and 
she trembled a little. Colonel Royston signed mutely 
to a chair. "Nay, walk with me a while." She 
passed her bare arm through his, and together they 
paced the turf, she a slight, white thing to his broad 



120 COLONEL GREATHEART 

strength. "If he could make me afraid," she mur- 
mured to herself. Then louder: "I can not go the 
straight ways, you know. There is something wild 
in me. If he can not master it, I am not sure — I am 
not sure." 

"Yet I have heard you call him master," said 
Colonel Royston. 

"I wanted to believe it," she said simply. "Nay, 
he is clever, and a man who does things dazzles me. 
Oh, he is adroit, and frank, and gay, and that night 
I hoped — I hoped — " She sighed, then swiftly 
changed her tone. "But if I were his, you would 
hate me. You want your friend." 

Colonel Royston stiffened. "I like to think he 
wants me." 

"You are not modest," she laughed. 

There was something grim in Colonel Royston's 
smile. "Faith, madame, there is not much modesty 
in this garden." 

"You are not a coxcomb, but a man. Why should' 
I pretend to you? Oh, I loathe the women that 
must be always hiding behind a veil." 

"Yet there is a decency in clothes," said Colonel 
Royston. 

"Clothes are for the people one does not trust. 
Do you never take off yours, sir?" 

" 'Tis an unedifying sight, madame." He looked 
down at her with a grim smile. "You would see no 
better than a hungry beast." 

/'Hungry — for what?" 



COLONEL ROYSTON STAYS BY A LADY 121 

"For all there is in life." 
"Good— and evil?" 

"If it has a relish. What is a man for but to taste 
all and get his fill of what he likes best?" 

"And what is your liking, sir?" 

"I'll tell you when I die." 

"You have not found it yet?" 

"I have found a thousand things worth living for, 
and none worth dying for — a thousand things to 
like, and none to love." 

"Not even a woman ?" said Lucinda, smiling. 

"All the women I ever knew have too many 
clothes — or nothing inside the clothes." 

"I am not like that," said Lucinda meekly. 

Colonel Royston laughed. "You ! No, you are 
white flame in a woman's body." 

A moment her hand closed lightly on his arm. 
She drew in her breath. "You know me," she said 
in a low voice. 

"And, by Heaven, you are worth knowing," mut- 
tered Colonel Royston. His face was something 
flushed. They paced on a while in silence, and she 
watched him with sparkling eyes intent. But Colonel 
Royston had his head back and was staring full in 
front. With a queer laugh he looked down at her. 
"For good or ill," said he. 

"Indeed, I fear you'll always be able to laugh at 
me," said Lucinda. 

"It will be mighty good for you." 

"So I'll take you as medicine." 



122 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"I'll strive to be fitly nasty." 

"Will you find it an effort, sir?" Lucinda laughed. 
And they saw Colonel Stow. 

"Have you buried him, Jerry?" cried Colonel 
Royston. 

"Mr. Bourne is my very good friend," said 
Colonel Stow. 

Lucinda blushed and stood still. "Oh, lud," 
quoth Colonel Royston. "And have you not marked 
him?" 

"I am glad I did not," said Colonel Stow. 

Colonel Royston whistled, and, "You are very 
compassionate, sir," Lucinda sneered. 

"I can not guess why you should be bloodthirsty, 
madame," said Colonel Stow sharply. 

"Nay, keep your censure for who will endure it!" 
she cried. 

"Tira lira," Colonel Royston concluded his mel- 
ody. "L profess most men would think you owed 
Mr. Bourne some small matter of a sword-point, 
Jerry." 

"Mr. Bourne has been in a mistake," said Colonel 
Stow, and came up to Lucinda. She met him with a 
defiance that made her lovely. "Madame, Mr. 
Bourne conceives that he has some right in you. It 
wer^-" 

"Is it my fault if Mr. Bourne is a fool?" 

"Perhaps," said Colonel Stow, with the beginning 
of a smile. "And now you will make him wise 
again. You will wake him from this mistake." 



COLONEL ROYSTON STAYS BY A LADY 123 

Her bosom rose. "You take a high tone, sir !" she 
cried. "It may be you are in a mistake, too." 

"Am I ?" said Colonel Stow. Then he caught her 
hands, and, though she leaned all her body away 
from him, he drew her close till her breast touched 
his. Her neck was rosy. Her eyes shone dark. "Do 
I presume?" he said in a low voice. "You know." 
And so held her a moment, her breast beating light 
against his, his breath in her hair, while she feared 
and longed for what might come next. For Colonel 
Royston stood by, frowning and grim. But Colonel 
Stow let her go gently, and with a quiet, "I am your 
servant, madame," made his bow and kissed her 
hand. . . . She, intent on him, was a moment be- 
fore she thought of offering it to Colonel Royston, 
But Royston, with the briefest bow, turned on his 
heel and followed his friend. 

"What did you do with the boy?" said Colonel 
Royston gruffly, as they turned into the street. 

"Made a hole in his shirt. He needed no more." 

Colonel Royston grunted. "The fact is, you are 
too much the lady, Jerry," says he. 

"Men should love me the more." 

"And what of the women?" 

"There is one that matters, and I shall content 
her." This confidence annoyed Colonel Royston, 
who looked sour enough. "I'gad, 'twas a quaint 
fight, George. The Lad will be no ill sword when he 
toughens. He exercised me. I was fairly praying 
for him to tire, when in strikes the Palatine and 



124 COLONEL GREATHEART 

would have us embrace. I believe I pleased Mon- 
sieur Rupert. He'll give me a regiment if I know 
men. So I spoke a word for you, too. And I think 
our affair is done." 

"Ay," says Royston with a sneer. "A regiment 
for you and a company for me. Ay, you are char- 
itable." 

Colonel Stow stared. He was not used to jealousy 
in his friend. "Faith, George, I am selfish enough 
with you. You've given too much for me. But in 
this there is no more for me than you. If the Pala- 
tine will not give us two like commissions, the better 
is yours." 

"No, i'gad!" cried Royston, flushing. "I am a 
cur, Jerry." 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 

"why come ye not to court?" , 

TT was a court of fantasy. No man looked what he 
-*- was. No man said what he meant. Each much- 
curled dame played at being the goddess she was 
called. All the air was heavily fragrant of bows and 
lofty conceits, and Colonel Stow found it some- 
thing hard to breathe. He was not able to tell 
Chloris that her voice called his fleeting soul away, 
nor swear to Saccharissa that her beauties employed 
his utmost sight, as the first dawn the eyes of Adam. 
He could not profess himself prostrated like the 
groveling Caliban by the courteous grace of a gen- 
tleman who made way for him, or liken King 
Charles on his entry to the white sun waking the 
splendors of all the subject flowers his light had 
made. In such a world he felt himself the country 
lad in worsted who was a judge of furrows and right 
harrowing. 

But there was splendor. Diamonds and white 
bosoms were gay all down the great hall of Christ 
Church, and men, too, sparkled in jewels, and vied 
with the women's silk and brocade. The scarlet 

125 



126 COLONEL GREATHEART 

gowns of doctors of divinity were no more than a 
simple chord in the loud melody of color. Colonel 
Royston approved. This was to his taste. Thus 
gorgeous a court should be. He fed on the luxury 
of it, and, proud of his own simplicity, despised 
them all, and most of all the elaborately posing 
King. Indeed, King Charles posed well — a stately 
melancholy in cloth of silver that set off his dark 
eyes and hair. His Queen, for all her golden gown, 
was but a foil to him. Her weak, round beauty made 
his sad sentiment look noble. "You might almost 
take him for a man to-night," said Colonel Royston. 
While he spoke came through the courtiers one who 
was that at least. Prince Rupert, taller by a head 
than the men who tilted eyebrows and sneered as he 
passed, made a mock of their splendor. Colonel 
Stow could see the faces change ludicrously. Prince 
Rupert was in simple dove gray from head to heel, 
and even his sword hilt plain, but across his breast 
was the broad blue riband of the garter. The Pala- 
tine knew how to dress. Colonel Stow honored the 
ability of it with a whimsical smile. Since these men 
were to be swayed so, so they must be swayed. One 
would not, however, admire them for it, nor perhaps 
the man who cared to deal with them so. 

The Prince took him by the elbow and had him 
out of the throng to the stairway. "Look you, sir, I 
have a word for you. I have read your papers, and 
they like me. I never knew Oxenstierna could praise 
before. I think you have seen more service than 



"WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?" 127 

myself. I see you were with Turenne. Why did 
you leave him?" 

"M. de Turenne has a brutality of manner," said 
Colonel Stow. 

"He is like a cat," the Palatine admitted. "A 
quarrel, eh?" 

"He proposed a hanging which I could not per- 
mit." 

"Was it your own?" 

"No, sir; a prisoner." 

"So. If that is your temper, you are the more use. 
Look you, sir, war here is not the war of Germany. 
It is all policy and quarter. They call me Rupert le 
Diable, but, thunder of God ! if these English knew 
what war could be, they would worship me. Under- 
stand me, sir," the brown eyes blazed suddenly, "if 
you can not hold your men, you are no use to me." 

"I brought a squadron of Croats through Saxony 
after Wittstock, and no woman was the worse for 
them." 

"Good." The brown eyes twinkled. "I am only 
asking you for miracles. Well, you will have no 
such rogues as Croats, but you will have fools who 
think they have rights. Oh, the devil ! Are you the 
nineteenth cousin of any great house, yourself?" 

"My father is a yeoman squire in Buckingham. I 
know no better of my blood than that." 

"Thank God for it!" Rupert clapped him on the 
shoulder. "The army is crawling with fellows who 
have some dirty connection with dirty blue blood. 



128 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Well, sir, if you will, you may have your commis- 
sion to a regiment of horse." 

"I humbly thank your Highness. And I dared to 
speak for my friend?" 

"Oh, ay, your friend. You can give him a 
squadron." ' 

"By your Highness' leave — if I might take the 
squadron and Colonel Royston the regiment. He is 
an older soldier than L" 

"Ods blood, here is a friendship ! Take care. 
There was never much got by playing Jonathan." 
But he looked at Colonel Stow with a kindly, boyish 
delight. "Well, tell me the man's service," said he, 
and he linked arms and walked out to the freshness 
of the night. 

-There was that within for which the Palatine had 
little taste. To the strains of flageolet and clavichord 
a smooth lad of the Christ Church servitors, tricked 
out in a woman's clothes, was singing a fantastical 
lament as lo, the wretched love of Jove. Now, lo, 
you recall, was through Juno's jealousy tormented 
by an immortal gadfly. So when the boy ended with 
a great tremolo : 

Woe is me that I am fair ! 
Woe is me that I am young! 
Woe is me, for my soul is stung 
Ever! Ever! Ever! 

my Lord Jermyn was pleased to make him a low 
bow and took up the doleful tune : 



"WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?" 129 

Sister lo, you are dull; 
Sister lo, go and try, 
Sister lo, to kill your fly. 

Spider! Spider! Spider! 

It was within the comprehension of her Majesty. 
She abandoned herself to laughter, and at once all 
the court honored this wondrous wit. Even the 
royal melancholy beside her condescended to a child- 
ish smile. The world might nudge and whisper be- 
hind his back, but he could not dream of jealousy 
against my Lord Jermyn. Yet of that queer menage 
of three, the best brains were in my Lord Jermyn's 
head. The Queen was urging him to sing now, and 
he denied only long enough to win a tap of her fan. 
Little and sleek, in a splendid red brocade, with a 
chain of rubies round his neck that he could never 
have paid for, he posed till he waked all expectation. 
Then he whispered a word to the flageolet, and in a 
pleasant voice enough : 

Oft have I mused the cause to find 

Why love in ladies' eyes should dwell ; 

I thought because himself was blind 

He looked that they should guide him well. 

And sure his hope but seldom fails, 

For love by ladies' eyes prevails. 

But time at last hath taught me wit, 
Although I bought my wit full dear ; 

For by her eyes my heart is hit. 

Deep is the wound, though none appear. 



130 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Their glancing beams as darts he throws, 
And sure he hath no shafts but those. 

I mused to see their eyes so bright, 
And little thought they had been fire; 

I gazed upon them with delight. 
But that delight hath bred desire. 

What better place can love desire 

Than that where grow both shafts and fire? 

He acted it to the Queen, and she laughed back to 
him and conquetted with her fan, and at last was 
pleased to feign displeasure at his boldness. So that 
there was no royal sign given for applause, and my 
Lord Jermyn was honored with a silence. Then he, 
keeping up the silly game she loved, must needs 
play pique, and turned away from her. So, peacock- 
ing it through the throng, he came upon Lucinda. 
My Lord Jermyn was a connoisseur. This lithe, 
fierce creature took his eye. A sea-green dress 
clung to her, and there were emeralds in the gor- 
geous mass of her hair that dared a happy disorder. 
She bore herself nobly. The slim neck and shoul- 
ders were no alabaster, but warm with quick life. 
My Lord Jermyn appraised her, and met eyes as 
bold as his own. 

" 'For by her eyes my heart is hit,* " he cried 
quickly. 

"A small mark, my lord." 

**A poor thing, madame, and not now mine own." 



"WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?" 131 

"Why, have you mislaid it?" says she, with a 
swift glance at the Queen. 

"I have dropped it in your bosom, madame," re- 
plied my Lord Jermyn. 

"A cold habitation." 

"The flame of my desire will melt those walls of 
snow." 

"And your heart be drowned, like a blind puppy." 

"You fence with a sharp sword, madame," cried 
my Lord Jermyn, something hurt 

"I would be a foil to no man, my lord." 

"Nay, you are made to be a man's breastplate." 

"I know no man big enough to wear me." 

My Lord Jermyn made a gesture of despair. 
"Then, madame, you condemn the creation. And 
you were made to be its joy." 

"I had rather be my own." 

"All men are yours," said my Lord Jermyn. 

Lucinda smiled. "While I am not theirs, I am 
well content." 

"Ods blood!" cried my Lord Jermyn in a fine 
transport, "there is one man I envy and I hate to 
death." Then with a grin : "And pity." 

"Who Is it?" asked Lucinda in sweet innocence. 

"Ay, who is it? I am on fire to know. Who is 
the happy man that makes those cruel eyes melt, that 
still bosom throb? I would condole with him — or 
kill him." 

"I wish I knew him," said Lucinda, smiling. "Or 
will you be he, my lord?" 



132 COLONEL GREATHEART 

My Lord Jermyn kissed her hand. "And I will 
do more at your convenience." 

"Nay, if you care for my convenience, you care 
not for me." 

"I protest!" cried my Lord Jermyn, and was prob- 
ably in earnest, "I protest you are the most piquant 
mouthful of a woman that ever was created !" 

"But I doubt your appetite," Lucinda laughed. 

"Doubt anything but that!" cried my Lord Jer- 
myn, and, chancing to turn a little, saw the Queen 
frown black. He laughed and engaged Lucinda 
more closely. "Nay, madame, you have brought 
wild life into this dull court. You shall enflame us, 
you shall make us mad. I would give my soul — or 
my little finger — to make you mad for me." 

"It would surely be disloyal of me," said Lucinda, 
with a quick eye upon the Queen, "and perhaps not 
amusing." 

"Oh, I engage for that!" cried my Lord Jermyn. 
"Nothing is so amusing as to embrace me. It has so 
many sensations." 

Lucinda considered him with mockery. "Well, I 
will take you for holidays, my lord. But indeed, I 
must have another for my daily bread." 

"It Is dry, the daily bread," said my Lord Jermyn. 
"But you, madame, are like wine with it to make the 
sacrament of life." He pruned himself having 
achieved such a conceit. 

"Alack, my lord, while I make you think of splr- 



"WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?" 133 

itual things, you remind me of nothing but the 
earthly." 

"It proves that we are apt for each other, like 
soul and body." 

"Ay, my lord, in most of us they quarrel dough- 
tily." 

"And the soul yields to the body's eloquence," and 
my Lord Jermyn possessed both her hands. "Mad- 
ame, it is an omen." 

"Of eternal punishment, I fear." 

"With me even that would be agreeable," says my 
lord modestly, and kissed her hands and her arms. 
Then sidewise he looked at the Queen. Her dis- 
pleasure was not lovely. My Lord Jermyn, who had 
some likeness to a monkey, thought of a new mis- 
chief. "But I confess, madame, you were made for 
an angel." 

"Do I not succeed as a woman?" 

"Ay, faith. But I see you with a golden harp. I 
hear your heavenly voice. Confess it, you sing?" 

"No heavenly songs, my lord." 

"The better fit for court. Let me lead you to the 
musicians. Nay, I will not be denied. I am her 
Majesty's master of the revels." 

"Her Majesty will not revel in this, my lord," 
said Lucinda, with a swift, laughing glance from 
the Queen's ill grace to him. But she suffered her- 
self to be led. 

Lucinda enjoyed herself. She had no illusions 



134 COLONEL GREATHEART 

about my Lord Jermyn, who was to her as mean a 
thing as Prince Rupert had called him. But my 
Lord Jermyn drew the eyes of the court. My Lord 
Jermyn could help her to do the like. Once on the 
stage, she was sure of her power to dazzle and thrill. 
She saw herself already an uncrowned Queen. 

My Lord Jermyn aping it about her, she spoke 
with the musicians. The clavichord broke through 
the rustle of talk. It was a song, daring on a wom- 
an's lips, and there was a dance with it of no cold 
measure. 

A lover I am, and a lover I'll be ! 

And hope from my love I shall never be free. 

Let wisdom be blamed in the prudish man-hater, 

For never to love is a sign of ill nature ! 

But she who loves well, and whose passion is strong, 

Shall never be wretched, and always be young. 

With hopes and with fears, like a ship on the ocean. 
Our hearts are kept dancing and ever in motion ! 
When our passion is pallid and our fancy would fail, 
A little kind quarrel supplies a fresh gale ! 
But when the doubt's cleared and the jealousy's gone, 
How we kiss and embrace, and can never have done ! 

Her lithe body gave all its grace to the dance. 
She acted the words with vivid gestures of allure. 
When at last the swift medley of color and womanly 
form was still, and she stood panting delicately, 
smiling, with a touch of red in her cheeks, even 



"WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?" 135 

though the King maintained his sentimental sad- 
ness and the Queen was moody and gave no lead, the 
court was quick with my Lord Jermyn to do her 
honor. The gentlemen, and even some of their 
ladies, crowded about her — my Lord Carnarvon, my 
Lord Wilmot, my Lord Digby, and Madame Sac- 
charissa, too. Lucinda had her reward. 

With hot cheeks and kindling eye, Colonel Roy- 
ston watched that dance. As it ended and they 
crowded round her, he turned and saw beside him 
Colonel Stow. "She is glorious, Jerry !" said 
Colonel Royston, and his voice was unsteady. But 
it was plain enough, from the gloom of Colonel 
Stow's brow, that he was of another mind. "What, 
man ! You are not a puling Puritan ! Hath she not 
a splendid life?" 

Colonel Stow forced a laugh. "I have quiet 
tastes, I think," he said. 

Royston fell back a step. "By Heaven, Jerry, you 
are not the man for that woman !" he muttered. 

"Perhaps I know her better than you, than 
these — " his lip curled as he looked at the courtiers 
about her. Colonel Royston, who was flushed, bit 
his dark moustachios on an oath. "But I came to 
seek you, George. The Palatine asks for you." 
Royston grunted and followed without a word. 

Prince Rupert stood in the quadrangle, looking 
up at the sky, "Saturn is red to-night," he said. 
"What would Booker argue of that, I wonder?" 
Colonel Stow and his friend, who were no astrolo- 



136 COLONEL GREATHEART 

gers, made not ,a guess. Prince Rupert returned to 
the world. "So you are Colonel Royston," and he 
looked the big man up and down. "You are for- 
tunate in your friend." 

"I shall try to deserve my fortune, sir." 

"No man deserves his friend," said the Palatine 
with his boyish cynicism. "I'gad, sir, what can you 
do for a man who would give up his regiment to 
find you one?" Colonel Royston became pale and 
looked at his friend strangely. "That is what Jerry 
Stow would be doing," said Rupert, laughing and 
slapping the uncomfortable Colonel Stow on the 
shoulder. "Well, sir, I like him too well to do with- 
out him. And I find you too good a soldier not to 
use you. I have seen your papers and heard more of 
you, and faith," he put his elbow into Colonel Stow's 
ribs, "I think your deeds have lost nothing in the 
telling. There is a Welsh regiment of foot forming. 
Faith, it will need some forming, but I hear you are 
a doctor of the Swedish drill. The commission is 
yours if you care to have it. What do you say, man?" 

Colonel Royston saluted. "I am your Highness' 
obliged servant." 

"So. You will wait on me in the morning." He 
glanced from one to the other. They were both ill 
at ease. "Two is company, I take it," said he with a 
laugh. "Zounds ! this affection is out of date. Good 
night to you." 

Then Colonel Stow linked his arm with his 
friend's. "So that is well, George," said he. 



"WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?" 137 

"Ay, you have cut a mighty fine figure," growled 
Royston. Colonel Stow started in utter amaze. 
Royston drew away. "And what good is it to us? 
The Palatine is but a fool's general. You know it 
as well as I. And you have seen what kind of honor 
they have for him here." 

"But general he is," Colonel Stow expostulated. 
"And if we are to have commissions, they must come 
from him." 

"Oh, ay, if you like to crawl and beg favors," 
cried Royston. "It is not my way." 

"You are unreasonable, George," said Colonel 
Stow mildly. 

But Royston was beyond that. "Oh, ay, I am un- 
reasonable. And you are to pose as chivalrous and 
make me mean. And I am to take your leavings 
while all the world praises your nobility. It is al- 
ways so. By God, am I made only to be your foil?" 

"I am sorry, George. I — " 

"Oh, curse your smoothness!" cried Royston, and 
flung away in a rage. 

Colonel Stow stood looking after him, hurt and 
hopelessly puzzled. 

And Colonel Royston stamped away through the 
night in an aching fever of rage. He was puzzled 
by it, and raged the more in a futile hate of all the 
world. 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

COLONEL ROYSTON BREAKS HIS SWORD 

"V/'OU can hardly conceive Mr. Bourne at peace all 
-*- this while. He was as sure of Lucinda as of 
himself, but of pure charity and good fellowship it 
was necessary to shatter Colonel Stow's assurance. 
The poor gentleman must not be let cheat himself 
more. To fulfil which philanthropic purpose Mr. 
Bourne, as soon as his duties of the King's Guard 
could spare him, sought the aid of Lucinda. 

It was an afternoon of swift showers, and the 
walls glistened with jewels. Lucinda, all silver and 
cream, yawned at her window over the prudish 
poems of Mr. Habington. She received Mr. Bourne 
with a smile as likely to be more amusing. He was 
at least gorgeous in his scarlet and blue. "You are 
grateful as sunshine, Gilbert," she cried, tossing the 
book away. "That man makes love like an angel 
with a cold." 

"Is my way better?" said Mr. Bourne, kissing her 
hand. 

"Yours? Well, you are like a pleasant child." 

138 



ROYSTON BREAKS HIS SWORD 139 

Mr. Bourne frowned. There was a savor in that 
of the ideas of Colonel Stow. "You did not think so 
once, madame," said he. 

"Oh, no," she laughed readily. "Once you bored 
me. That was when you thought me a goddess." 
She made a face of mock horror, and he smiled 
against his will. 

"Faith, you are nothing but a woman, with all 
the torment of your sex." 

"If you can laugh at me, I shall love you," she 
said, and signed him to a place at her side in the 
window-seat. She tossed back the curls that glowed 
about her brow and freed the grace of her neck from 
its lace scarf. 

Mr. Bourne had not much power of laughter, 
least of all when his eyes were on her. He looked 
long. "Nay, I am not come to jest," he said. "Lu- 
cinda — we must be frank now." 

"Gilbert, my dear, you could never be anything 
else," she laughed. 

"Ay, and you, you must understand — " 

"I understand you to your finger-tips." 

"And on my soul I understand you," cried Gil- 
bert, and doubtless believed it. 

But he saw that strange, wise, mocking smile of 
hers. "If I thought so," she said slowly, "why, I 
might be afraid of you. And you — would be 
happy." 

"I am happy," he said gravely, "And God for- 
bid that you should fear mc." She laughed. "Yes, 



I40 COLONEL GREATHEART 

I am happy," and he took her hand. "But others 
must know that I am happy, Lucinda." 

"My dear friend," said Lucinda, "at knowing an- 
other happy, one is only in a bad temper." And 
she took her hand back. 

Mr. Bourne laughed. "I shall make all men un- 
happy indeed." 

"You are not big enough," said Lucinda, shaking 
her curls. 

"Nay, but you are my queen, and when I possess 
you — " 

"You will have grown," said Lucinda sharply. 

Mr. Bourne stared at her. "Dear, I know I am 
all unworthy," he said in a low voice. 

"That I have never doubted." 

"But in truth I love you more than life. You are 
my honor and my soul." 

"It is a little tedious for me." 

Mr. Bourne made an exclamation. "Once you did 
not think so." 

"My dear Gilbert, while you were not serious, you 
were amusing." 

"Ah, Lucinda, this is no jest !" 

"If you could but see it !" 

"It is my whole life and yours, and we dare not 
play with it." 

"What else is life for?" Lucinda laughed. 

Mr. Bourne frowned. "I do not understand you 
of late." 

"Faith, my friend, you never did." 



ROYSTON BREAKS HIS SWORD 141 

"Is it—-" 

Before the question was ended Colonel Stow 
came in. 

"In good time, sir," Lucinda cried. "Here is Mr. 
Bourne as serious .as a thunderstorm." 

Colonel Stow bowed to Mr. Bourne. "A very 
wholesome affair," he said gravely. 

"Yes, in good time, sir," cried Mr. Bourne. "I 
can now ask Mistress Weston to tell you what she 
promised me." 

Lucinda gave a swift glance from one man to the 
other, but she did not hesitate. "A smile while you 
live and a sigh when you die," she cried. 

Colonel Stow turned to Mr. Bourne. 

"Are you not pledged?" Mr. Bourne said in a 
strange voice. 

She laughed. "Gilbert, my dear, you are very 
tragic," He made an impatient gesture. "And it 
becomes you deplorably." 

"Nay, answer me !" he cried hoarsely. 

Colonel Stow drew away. 

"My friend, there is no return for worship. You 
have worshipped me, so why should I care for you ?" 
The lad flinched and was white, and turned un- 
steadily away. "Oh, Gilbert, pray be amusing. 
That is your metier." 

He faced round upon her. He was white still to 
the lips, and his eyes misty. He tried to speak. "I 
— I am sorry," he muttered, and made his bow and 
bur^ out. 



142 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Lucinda smiled at Colonel Stow. "With his next 
love, he will think himself more and her less, and it 
will be the happier for both of them. Mon Dieu, he 
has been an entertainment !" 

But Colonel Stow was entirely grave. "You do 
yourself an injustice, madame." 

"To deny myself to Mr. Bourne? Sure, you 
would have me too generous, sir." 

"To jeer at a man's devotion." 

Her eyes flamed. "What right have you to re- 
buke me?" 

"No one in the world has the right but me." 

"Are you to order my life?" 

"Your life is mine, your honor mine." 

She sprang up. She flung her arms wide. "To 
no man! To no man in the world!" she cried, and 
her voice was glad. She stood against him, maiden 
in the pure, gentle hue of her dress, passionate with 
vivid lips, and the glow of her hair and her eager 
eyes, all fiercely lovely. 

"How little you know !" he said, and laughed a 
little. "Are you glad to be a queen that is deaf and 
dumb and blind? You are that, no more than that, 
in your maidenhood. You'll never know life with- 
out me. The power of you sleeps till I waken it." 

"My power?" She threw the laugh back at him. 
She was defiant still, but something of the fierceness 
was gone out of her. "My power? Ask other men 
of that. The boy that is gone — ay, and stronger 
than he. Have I no power over them ?" 



ROYSTON BREAKS HIS SWORD 143 

"Yes, power to bewilder them, and torture them, 
and make them mad. Do you think you were made 
for no better than that? By Heaven, it shall not be !" 
He strode to her and gripped her hands. His eyos 
were flaming with a rare light. She felt the keen 
strength of him, manhood at war with her own 
nature. "You! You must give men heart to dare 
and work. You are to help life, not break it. With 
me and through me, we together to order and guide 
the people. I have not the force without you, you 
are blind without me. We together, we are power." 
He crushed her hands in his. "What ! Do you deny 
me? I am yours as you are mine. Mine — mine to 
take to myself and use." He flung her hands away 
and grcisped her waist. "You know it — ^yes, you 
know it, body and soul ! They cry to me. Is it not 
true?" She was panting a little and flushed. She 
had turned her face from him. He took her chin in 
his hand .and made the glistening eyes look up to his. 
"You shall own it, by Heaven! Are you not throb- 
bing for me? You, the force of life. I am your 
guide. Yield yourself. Yield !" 

She looked long, silent. . . . Suddenly she 
flung her arms about him and clasped him passion- 
ately to her breast, crushing herself upon the harsh 
buff coat. He drew her face from his shoulder and 
kissed her fiercely. . . . 

Her arms fell loose about him; she freed herself 
and stood leaning against his shoulder, trembling a 
little, looking away. She put her hand to her hot 



144 COLONEL GREATHEART 

cheeks and gave a queer, miserable laugh. "Yes, I 
am yours," she said. His arm was hard about her 
again, and at the touch of it she drew to him, sob- 
bing. . . . Calmer at last, though her eyes were 
dark still with tears, she looked up at him with a 
strange surprise. "Ah, you were wonderful!" she 
said, drawing a long breath. "I did not know. 
. . . You have made me not like myself. . . . 
Ah !" It was like a cry of pain. Her arm closed on 
him with nervous strength. "Do not fail me !" 

Colonel Stow laughed. . . . 

It was twilight when he came out. He saw a 
lucid violet sky, with a tiny star pale in it, but all 
the west was mellow yet, and the afterglow caressed 
wall and tower. Rustling by each narrow lane from 
the river meadows a warm wind came, heavy with 
the sweet breath of summer. It gave him the 
poignant mingled fragrance of young grass and may 
and lime, and it bore his love new strength and his 
strength new love. He was drunk with life. Like 
one who walks in a world of visions, where all things 
are of his realm, where all is subject to him, he 
swung through the throng of the High Street. The 
swaggering soldiers, the mincing, laughing girls, 
were all his people for him to use. He was lord of 
all. He looked up and laughed. Darkly clear, like 
deep water, and vast beyond the sense of man, rose 
the dome of the sky. With that immensity of the 
world he was akin; the strength of it was his 
strength; he had the secret of its mystery and its 



ROYSTON BREAKS HIS SWORD 145 

calm. Long he stood still, looking up where the 
gray spire of St. Mary's sprang glorious to the white 
glow of the evening star. ... He knew the 
strength of man's striving, and the eternal joy of 
peace. And he was to be a ruler among his people; 
he felt the surge of his power and its mastery. 

In their lodging, in an upper room of St. Aldate's, 
Colonel Royston did sword exercise by candle-light. 
He was stripped to his shirt and bare armed, and 
this way and that his heavy strength swung easily 
with a ripple of muscle. 

Stepping light as a child in a hurry of joy, Colonel 
Stow ran up and flung the door wide. "George ! I 
am the happiest man alive!" With the draft the 
candles flickered and guttered and went out, and in 
the bewildering light from the open door Colonel 
Royston, who was lunging, misjudged his distance. 
His sword came against the stone of the chimney- 
piece harshly. "Is it broken?" cried Colonel Stow, 

"At the point," said Royston out of the dark. 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

INGEMINATING PEACE 

A DISORDERLY crowd in the meadows beyond 
"^^ Wadham was disturbed by Colonel Stow, He 
required the officers — nay, any officer — of Audley's 
Horse. And the troopers of Audley's Horse, loung- 
ing with dice and tankard before their slovenly tents, 
bade him to Beelzebub — with whom their officers 
ought to be — or to the Ship in the Cornmarket — 
where doubtless they were. Colonel Stow rode off. 
But he left behind him Alcibiade and Matthieu- 
Marc, and they were soon putting up a tent. They 
were approached by some slouching troopers, who, 
coats all undone, hose gaping at the knee, stood aloof 
and eyed them with distrust, muttering. Then one 
cried out : "Look 'e, my buck, what be doing here ?" 
Alcibiade had a mallet in his mouth. Matthieu- 
Marc, the pessimist, made the reply. "Gentlemans," 
said he, "what does any one do here ? Tell me, then. 
I do not understand her, your war. She is like a 
bad dream." They guffawed at him. Nothing could 
be more absurd than being foreign, "li you could 
see yourselves you would not laugh at me, coquins," 
said Matthieu-Marc bitterly. "But, yes! I am droll! 

146 



INGEMINATING PEACE i47 

To come to such a war, such soldiers!" He flung 
up his arms at them and turned to the tent again 
with the haste of despair. 

Alcibiade straightened himself, grinned at them, 
jerked his thumb knowingly at Matthieu-Marc, and 
grinned again. "He wants everything better than 
it is made, gentlemen. Even you. It is an impossi- 
ble, that dear Matthieu-Marc. But tell, then" — Al- 
cibiade, too, was interested in these unsoldierly sol- 
diers — "at what hour is your troop drill, and your 
squadron drill how often?" 

They guffawed again. "You be an innocent." 

"Innocent of all but sin, gentlemen," said Alci- 
biade politely. "But, enfin, you have your parades, 
parfois?" 

"Hark 'e, innocent. We Cavaliers do need no for- 
eigners' drillings. We be gentlemen. We do fight." 

"I felicitate the enemy," said Alcibiade. "And 
what do you fight for?" 

"Find your own horse and two shillings a day." 

Alcibiade waved his hand. "That is no matter 
for the gentleman soldado. Your cause, messieurs, 
your faith?" 

They nudged one another and looked at one an- 
other with stupid grins, and agreed that Alcibiade 
was a natural. While they were enjoying the 
thought of that, one changed the subject with a sim- 
ple rudeness. "Who be that tent for?" 

"For your colonel, gentlemen," said Alcibiade, 
and saluted at the name. 



148 COLONEL GREATHEART 

The shaggy jaws dropped. "Be your master a 
foreigner like to you ?" says one in a surly amaze- 
ment. 

"He is English altogether. It is his one fault. 
But he will make you a regiment such as your coun- 
try has not. A sweet regiment." 

They were in no way rejoiced. "If he do try for- 
eign tricks with us, I am sorry for he," says one. 

"Messieurs," said Alcibiade sweetly, "when I look 
at you I also am sorry for him. But if you do try 
tricks with him I am very sorry for you." 

They gaped and glowered at Alcibiade a while 
and then slouched off to impart the ill news. Alci- 
biade returned to the tent and Matthieu-Marc. Mat- 
thieu-Marc was interjectional in his own tongue. 
"What a nation ! What animals ! What a war ! Tell 
me, Alcibiade," — he struck an attitude of despair, — 
"why do we waste on these stupids our skill?" 

"We seek always honor. If we can made soldiers 
of these it is honor indeed," said Alcibiade; but 
even he was something chilled by these slovenly 
Cavaliers. "Myself, I would like to know why these 
gentlemen fight at all. Now, with Gustav one fought 
for the religion, and with Bernhard to make him a 
kingdom, and one believed in them. But these — 
they believe in nothing." 

"In their shilling a day," said Matthieu-Marc, and 
made scornful noises like a sheep. 

"The others, the enemies, I wonder if they know 
why they fight," said Alcibiade pensively. "It will 



INGEMINATING PEACE 149 

make a difference." One may not suppose that Mat- 
thieu-Marc, or even Alcibiade, always ready to talk 
of what they believed, understood the profundities 
of the English heart. But they knew the temper of 
conquering armies, and even Alcibiade whistled a 
mournful lay as he drew the guy ropes fast. 

There were others jovial enough. The officers of 
Audley's Horse knew no care. Their credit was 
good yet from the sack of Marlborough, and the 
ship gave them all they needed. Being the forenoon, 
it was no more than a gallon of spiced wine and a 
bowl of ale with toasted crabs swimming in it. Cor- 
net Sackville and Captain Sedley and Captain God- 
frey, three lads of little beard but with faces stained 
already and voices going husky, were pleased to 
pipe up : 

We be soldiers three — 
Pardona moy, je vous an prie 
Lately come forth o' tlie low country 
With never a penny of money. 
Fa la la la lantido dilly. 

And the others broke off their game of hazard to 
beat time with the pewter : 

Here, good fellow, I drink to thee — 
Pardona moy, je vous an prie 
To all good fellows wherever they be, 
With never a penny of money. 
Fa la la la lantido dilly. 



ISO COLONEL GREATHEART 

To which came with an explosive entry Major 
Dick Stewart. He flung his hat down on the dice and 
himself into a chair that creaked, "Perdition, lads! 
Ods fire! Damnation!" and he drank off a pint of 
the wine. 

"Speak for yourself, Major," piped Cornet Sack- 
ville. 

"Ods blood, if I do not speak for you all, you be 
no men but so many sheep's kidneys. O split me 
that I should live to see it! A sour, stiff-backed, 
swell-head jack pudding from Germany to command 
us — us! O burn me, 'tis enough to make old Sam 
Audley ride back on a gridiron to card him !" 

The rest had no mind to cool his wrath. "Vie jo 
diablo" says Captain Sedley, who had a rarefied 
taste in oaths, "would the King have us learn the 
high Dutch?'" 

"Nay; the calf is English born. A Jeremiah 
Stow." 

"Jeremiah Under-the-Fifth-Rib Smite-and-Spare- 
Not Barebones ! Zounds ! he should be with Mande- 
vil and Noll Cromwell. The name is an insult to 
the regiment." 

"Insult, quotha !" Major Dick Stewart made away 
with another pint. "Ods bones, 'tis a vile outrage, 
and the lad that doth not resent it is a white-livered 
prigpter. Are we rats that the Palatine should foist 
a broken bully from Germany on us ? Was there no 
gentleman in the regiment good enough to be its 



INGEMINATING PEACE 151 

colonel? Od rot me, lads, we'll roast this white 
cuckoo roundly !" 

"Hoo! Hoo!" roared Captain Godfrey in the 
manner of one cheering on dogs to bait a bear. 

The door was opened. Grave and entirely calm, 
Colonel Stow gazed upon these flushed, agitated 
gentlemen. 

"Who are you, milk face?" cried Major Stewart. 

"You are the gentlemen of Audley's Horse?" said 
Colonel Stow, and on the answering shout saluted. 
"I have the pleasure to be your colonel." 

Major Stewart put his elbow into the ribs of Cap- 
tain Godfrey, who did the like for Cornet Sackville. 
The gentlemen of Audley's Horse began to laugh at 
Colonel Stow, and laughed in volleys. 

Colonel Stow leaned against the door-post, ca- 
ressed his beard and smiled upon them kindly. "I 
fear," said he in the first lull, "I fear I shall want 
new officers in my regiment." He looked them over 
with plain contempt which was multiplied as his eye 
rested on the purple amplitude of Major Dick Stew- 
art "Major," says he in a calm small voice, "you 
have rested so long in the tavern that the regiment 
has forgot what you look like. Go and show them." 

Major Dick Stewart flung himself back in his 
chair, dashed his spurred heels into the floor and 
was understood to bid his colonel seek perdition. 

Colonel Stow laughed. "If I do not obey you I 
am a Christian," said he. "But," and the tone hard- 



152 COLONEL GREATHEART 

ened, "if you do not obey me you are broke. Get 
to your duty." The major glared and his neck 
swelled. He seemed to desire to swear. Colonel 
Stow continued to regard him with a perfect calm. 
He heaved himself out of his chair and stood over 
Colonel Stow. "Make me a return of the damaged 
pistol locks by sundown," said Colonel Stow and 
turned from him with contempt. Major Stewart 
plunged out 

The rest of them were whispering together. Colo- 
nel Stow, preserving always the extreme of quiet 
in his manner, walked to the table, picked a pipe 
with care, filled it from his own silver box, and lit 
it and composed himself comfortably in Major 
Stewart's chair. Then the little Cornet Sackville 
did the like himself, with a comical affectation of 
Colonel Stow's manner, and concluded by arranging 
himself in a chair precisely opposite Colonel Stow, 
whom he ogled. The rest ranged themselves in a 
half circle and stared at the colonel as if he were 
a show. 

"Tetedieu," says Captain Sedley, "the colonel has 
very large feet." 

"But how sweet a nose," said Cornet Sackville af- 
fectionately. 

"And what long ears," cried Captain Godfrey. 

Colonel Stow smoked on, silent and calm. 

"Madonna," quoth Captain Sedley, "he is quite 
tame, our colonel." 



INGEMINATING PEACE 153 

"Blessed are the meek," said Cornet Sackville 
with unction. 

"Had they no use for cowards in Germany, Colo- 
nel?" inquired Captain Godfrey. 

Colonel Stow continued to smoke. He dropped 
his words lazily between puffs. "It is very natural 
you should all desire the honor of crossing swords 
with me. But I have no reason to think you deserve 
it. I shall concede you a chance. Which gentleman 
bears himself most soldierly in the next fight I shall 
permit to try my sword play. You, sirrah," — he 
singled out Captain Godfrey, — "go make my com- 
pliments to Prince Rupert and assure him in my 
name I'll have the regiment in hand by to-morrow." 
Captain Godfrey gaped at him, turned for inspira- 
tion to his comrades, who had none, and shambled 
out. 

The others, on whom gloom was plainly descend- 
ing, muttered together again. "Sir," says Captain 
Sedley, with an aggrieved air, "sir, we would have 
you know we are gentlemen and will be treated for 
such." 

"You shall be till you make it impossible," said 
Colonel Stow and finished his pipe . . . Then he 
rose. "Well, gentlemen, you will understand me in 
time. I understand you now, which is the chief 
matter. The regiment parades at five." 

Then he went back to his regiment and mingled 
with the troopers, who found him a new kind of 



154 COLONEL GREATHEART 

officer. He treated them as men. He was concerned 
for their fortunes. He desired to listen to their 
grumbles of rations and pay and was not fool 
enough to believe all they said. Such a colonel was 
vastly impressive to the soldiers of the army of the 
King. 

They turned out on parade with a smartness that 
disgusted their officers. Then Colonel Stow made 
an oration. "You know nothing of me, gentlemen. 
I have fought fourteen campaigns and borne my 
own regiment through six. It is my habit to see that 
my regiment fares as well as the best and deserves 
it." Whereafter, till sundown, he put them through 
a drill the like of which they had never known. It 
was the opinion of the troopers, when, sweating and 
stiff, they came back to water their horses, that their 
colonel was a tough fellow. But their colonel 
thought less of them. 

In days that followed Colonel Stow taught them 
tribulation. They were schooled as never soldiers 
of the King had been schooled before, and they did 
not affect to enjoy it. But to their surprise it bred 
in them a queer surly affection for him. Indeed, if 
he harried them it was plainly for their good, and 
for their good he harried others, too. My Lord 
Percy, who was master of the victualling as well as 
the ordnance, did not hide his disgust with a colonel 
who expected something of him and got it. Before 
a week was out. Sir James Griffin, the paymaster, 
found himself recalling the parable of the impor- 



INGEMINATING PEACE 155 

tunate widow. And Sir James was a man of re- 
ligion. 

The officers of Colonel Stow approved these pro- 
ceedings in no particular. They condemned him for 
an ungentlemanly frowardness. A fellow thus trou- 
bled by the base concerns of common troopers was 
plainly of low blood. But they found it extraordi- 
narily difficult to convince Colonel Stow of his in- 
feriority. Attempts to make him ridiculous recoiled 
like an ill-backed petard with general disaster. The 
fascinating dream of common mutiny was shattered 
for ever by Prince Rupert's jovial confidence to 
Captain Godfrey that the man who made trouble 
for Colonel Stow could count on an enemy. The 
courtiers might mock at the Palatine, but no man 
in the army invited his anger till there were twenty 
leagues between them. Brave souls like my Lord 
Goring might dare it then. So Colonel Stow's of- 
ficers were sulkily submissive — an air which became 
them mighty ill. Such of them as were sportsmen, 
and had some feeling for their trade, saw the regi- 
ment quicken under his hand and were aggrieved 
with themselves for being pleased. 

What Colonel Stow thought of his regiment and 
his army he kept to himself. For it was as strange 
an army as king ever used to vindicate his majesty. 
There were indeed those in it who believed in him 
passionately as in their God: there were those less 
devout who yet counted all well lost for him : there 
were more who felt their own lordship over the 



156 COLONEL GREATHEART 

common herd linked indissolubly with his king- 
ship and who fought for him keenly as for them- 
selves. But these all told made but few and the mass 
of that army cared no more for King than for Puri- 
tan and knew less of war than the morris dance. 
They were soldiers neither from a fierce zeal nor 
by trade. They were the loungers at bull baitings, 
the idlers and broken men of village and town, who 
ran to war as they would have run to a street brawl. 
Never an army knew less of its business, and its gen- 
eral, the Palatine, was not the man to make good 
soldiers out of sots and fools. Nor had he the 
chance. He must needs fret the best of his strength 
away in fighting the good gentlemen of the council 
who conceived themselves statesmen and generals 
by divine inspiration, and, having but little matter 
of state left them to occupy with, took hold of 
strategy and the government of war. Not first of 
generals nor last, Rupert found his most trouble- 
some foes of his own party, and he had not the 
temper to wear them out 

If Rupert had a plan of campaign, my Lord 
Digby was instant to the King with another. The 
King spoke both fairly and thwarted both. That 
was the royal conception of majesty — to trust no 
man and to hold himself secret from every man. He 
moved in a mysterious way, because it was his di- 
vine right, and certainly he performed wonders. 
Inasmuch as he was a monarch and God's proxy, 
he could not commit his sacred designs to men nor 



INGEMINATING PEACE 157 

tell them the truth. Double-faced through good and 
ill, he lamented continually the harshness of his 
friends and solemnly likened his foes to them that 
slew the Christ. 

With such a bloody method and behavior 
Their ancestors did crucify our Saviour! 

So he wrote in a poem that would be blasphemous 
if it were not too stupid. It was ill fighting for a 
King who could not conceive that any man had the 
right to require honesty of him. 

"By God, sir," cried Rupert once in a blaze of 
passion, "the chief traitor to King Charles is King 
Charles himself." Outwardly that was forgiven, 
but the King did not suffer himself to forget. Never 
afterward could he believe Rupert loyal. He sol- 
emnly added another to the list of woes which he 
kept with zealous precision : played the kindly uncle 
to Rupert and believed no word he said. It may not 
have been the wise way for a king to deal with his 
general, but King Charles was above human wis- 
dom. 

This quarrel came when the King, swayed by the 
sapience of my Lord Digby, was pleased to con- 
sider he had army enough. Rupert desired to enroll 
new regiments of foot. My Lord Digby, who 
grudged everything that gave the Palatine power, 
persuaded the King that if the army could not sweep 
the Puritans away it was the fault of its general 
and that the money for the new regiments were bet- 



158 COLONEL GREATHEART 

ter spent on diplomacy ; in fact, that it was a deroga- 
tion from the divine majesty to believe a larger 
army needed. The King saw in this queer notion 
a subtlety and it captivated him as usual. 

So you find Colonel Royston with a commission 
to form a regiment, instructed that no regiment was 
to be formed. In a cold rage he went off to Rupert. 
He would have forced a quarrel, he says, if he 
could, but with the first sneer Rupert himself broke 
out: "Thunder of God, man, swear at me and have 
done! I swear at myself that I am fool enough to 
stay here. If you have any honor, lose it; if you 
have any loyalty break it, and by hell, you shall live 
the happier." He drank heavily from the flagon at 
his elbow. When the King played him false he was 
apt to fly to wine. He pushed a bottle across the 
table to Royston, and the two of them in the worst 
temper with all the world got vastly drunk together. 

You conceive Royston in a sorry state the next 
day. The gloom of things he beheld in aching dis- 
comfort twice as black. It was obvious in his aspect. 
He was not inclined to take meekly Colonel Stow's 
shake of the head and small reproving smile. "A 
fine lusty fool you have made of me, Jerry," he 
growled and called defiantly for a tankard of dog's 
nose. 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "Wine is a mocker," he 
remarked. 

"And what a murrain have I to do but drink?" 
cried Royston. 



INGEMINATING PEACE 159 

Colonel Stow opened his eyes and said some- 
thing about a regiment. 

Royston swore profusely at the world. "Regi- 
ment! I have no regiment and shall have none. 
By Heaven, I was a fool to follow you. I might 
have known you would feather your nest and I 
should go howling. What else have I ever had by 
you?" 

Colonel Stow was grave. "It may be so, George," 
he said at last with something like a sigh. "I did 
not think to have heard you say it." 

Royston gave an ugly laugh and drank again. 
Then he put down the tankard with a bang. "Bah, 
I am a churl, Jerry. And the Palatine has a better 
head for liquor than I. But my temper is broke, I 
think. Faith, there is some reason for a man that 
has been diddled like me." And he told how the 
King had forbidden the raising of one regiment 
more. 

Colonel Stow cursed his King for a fool. Then 
he looked wistfully at his friend. "I wish to God 
you had my place, George." 

"O, have done with that!" cried Royston impa- 
tiently. "But, i'gad, Jerry, I'll wager we are come 
to the wrong side." 

"I'll not believe that," said Colonel Stow. "There 
are men worth making here. But faith, George, if 
you wish yourself out of it, I can scarce bid you 
stay, now. . . . Will you go?" 

Royston hesitated some while. And often after- 



i6o COLONEL GREATHEART 

ward, as he hints, wished that he had taken the oc- 
casion and given his friend a good-by. But, "I'll 
see it out," he growled and he gave a queer laugh of 
contempt. 

Colonel Stow gripped at his hand with glad en- 
thusiasm. "Faith, you were made for a friend, 
George," says he in a low voice. 

Royston laughed again. He despised himself on 
many counts. It was a foolishness to stay where 
neither money was to be won nor name. It was a 
foolishness to be governed by friendship. It was 
worst foolishness of all that friendship should be 
mingled with what mocked it, a shameful care for 
the woman of his friend's love. Lucinda, who was 
surely very sorry for it at the Last, had power with 
Colonel Royston and he despised himself and stayed 
— strange company for those gentlemen volunteers, 
who, splendid, undisciplined and useless as brave, 
filled up the army of the King. 

The gentlemen volunteers had no doubt of the 
issue of the war. It was as certain that the King 
would conquer as that neither horse nor foot could 
stand up for their charge. They looked for utter 
victory and the stamping out of Puritans and the 
rule absolute of their divine King. There was a fair 
array in Oxford of some such faith as this. Even 
Rupert had still in his sanest hours a vast confidence 
in himself. The rout at Marston had hurt his pride 
and taught him the grip of fear. But if he was 
soured by it, he was soon his own master again. He 



INGEMINATING PEACE i6i 

bore his work hard and the politicians fretted him 
into black hours, but he could not long together 
doubt himself an unconquerable artist in war. He 
and his friends all counted on triumph and did ear- 
nestly desire it. The politicians, my Lord Digby, 
Mr. Hyde and the rest, quarreling with him on all 
else, were agreed in this. The unhindered rule of 
the King, no less, was their goal, and if some of 
them seemed to march to it by strange ways they 
were entirely sure of attaining. But the most of 
them, the great mass of the army, knew no such 
flaming faith. They fought because it was the 
game, and when the game was no more amusing 
would give it up light of heart. Whether King 
ruled or Puritan troubled them little. England 
would be a fat pleasant country still. 

There were some, too, not the least wise, not the 
least honest, who, while they fought against the 
Puritan, feared the triumph of the King. Men who 
loved England and sane life better than any pas- 
sionate creed, they saw no end to the war in the 
victory of either army, no future for England un- 
der either sway. It is not always the men of low 
spirit who rank with the Laodiceans. 

When he walked the meadows at dawn one day 
Colonel Stow saw a gentleman of a disorderly dress 
and a bent back who went uncomfortably. His black 
hair was all unkempt, his face of an unwholesome 
darkness. He knit his hands behind him strenuously 
and talked to himself. The matter of his discourse 



i62 COLONEL GREATHEART 

was but one word. In a shrill and sad accent he in- 
geminated — "Peace ! Peace !" 

Colonel Stow passed him and saw the melancholy 
of his eyes. It was my Lord Falkland, the secre- 
tary of state. Colonel Stow watched him a while 
and went away thoughtful. 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 

MY LORD DIGBY UPON WOMAN 

"TTARRY, you are a fool," says my Lord Digby 
■■--'- in a didactic manner. 

"Bah, I amuse myself," quoth my Lord Jermyn, 
and flicked his ruffles. 

"Precisely," said my Lord Digby. 

They were of the gay company in the Broad Walk 
where the elms were newly bright and the wood 
pigeons murmurous. My Lord Jermyn had just 
been displaying himself with Lucinda, beside whose 
lithe grace, it is to be confessed, he was comically 
brief. Lucinda was remarkable in a gown of sum- 
mer green and she wore it worthily. 

"Woman," says my Lord Digby with his wise 
air, "woman, if she is only amusing, is not even 
that. She is not worth playing with unless she is 
too dangerous for play. You play with all, Harry, 
which means that all play with you." 

"You are like a rattle," said my Lord Jermyn 
frankly. "That good girl — who, thank Heaven, is 
neither good nor much a girl — is like a hogshead 
of Spanish wine. I like to taste her, but I've no 

163 



i64 COLONEL GREATHEART 

mind to take the whole of her. O, we understand 
each other." 

"My dear Harry, you never understood a woman 
yet. It Is why you have such success with them. 
Madame Lucinda is a bigger soul than you. She 
has passions." (My Lord Jermyn chuckled pro- 
fanely.) "If you were a man with red blood I 
might be sorry for you. She believes in herself. It 
is the last worst fault in woman. But she will give 
a man or two magnificent moments." He contem- 
plated my Lord Jermyn benignly. "Harry, I should 
like to see you in a tragedy. You would be amus- 
ing." 

"You could never be that, George," said my Lord 
Jermyn with a yawn of candor. 

But my Lord Digby was born for the didactic. 
"She is a woman of the grand order. She'll use 
her strength. She needs all men to be her slaves, 
and knows not to deny herself. A woman worth 
dying for — if you are of that temper. She is not for 
you, Harry. You would give her little sport. But 
she is real — real. Non equidem iiivideo. Miror 
magis. I adore her, but I have no use for her, and 
pray Heaven she hath none for me. I find mine own 
occasion in one of your shy maids who scarce knows 
what womanhood is for — one whose glory is to 
spend herself in a man's service, not a man in hers — 
some sweet, virtuous fool. I was never a tragedian, 
Harry." 

"You have words in you, not blood, George," said 



MY LORD DIGBY UPON WOMAN 165 

my Lord Jermyn, who honestly conceived himself 
a creature of romance. 

It was growing late for the meadows. Who felt 
themselves the models of the court had made for the 
town already, and Lucinda was going, too, with 
Colonel Stow at her side. You may guess what 
brought Colonel Royston to mingle with that array 
of courtiers. Lucinda had taught him weakness. 
He would not go seek her out. What a pox was she 
to him? But he would walk where she might be 
seen. Why the fiend should he run away from a 
woman? When he saw her swaying on Colonel 
Stow's arm, he did not deign to see her. But he 
heard the ring of her laugh, and when she beckoned 
he thrust through to her side. 

"You make yourself a stranger, sir. Or is it an 
enemy?" she cried, with sparkling eyes. 

"It is an indifferent, madame," said Colonel Roy- 
ston, 

"And that is a challenge. Nay, but first I chal- 
lenge you. Doubtless you have wished your friend 
joy of me. Pray, give me joy of your friend." It 
was her first confession of surrender. 

Colonel Royston bowed. "Do you doubt your 
joy, madame, or his?" 

She looked at Colonel Stow, and they laughed to- 
gether. "Nay, we know," she said. Then, clinging 
to Colonel Stow's arm in a dainty poise, she turned 
to Royston. "But, indeed, sir, we would have you 
glad with us." 



i66 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"You are marvelous kind," said Colonel Royston, 
His color was high, and he would not look in her 
eyes. 

"I'faith, we are greatly happy," she murmured, 
and, drawing close, looked up at Colonel Stow with 
a strange, tender smile. Then she gave some of the 
kindness of it to Colonel Royston. "I want you to 
know," she said simply. 

Royston bowed again. His lower lip was drawn in. 

"In truth, George should share of the best we 
have," said Colonel Stow. 

"There is much," said Lucinda in a low voice. 

Colonel Royston, looking up, saw their eyes meet 
again, saw her hand linked close and pressing his 
friend's. 

She turned quickly. "Some day," there was a 
laugh in her voice, "some day, sir, mayhap you will 
know." 

"Oh, you expect too much of me," cried Royston 
sharply. 

At the strange tone she seemed to start and draw 
against Colonel Stow, and, so swaying with him step 
for step, looked full at Royston. "Nay, I think I 
know you," she said softly. 

"If you do," cried Royston, "you know why I 
leave you now." And he plunged away down Mer- 
ton Street. 

Lucinda looked surprised at Colonel Stow, who 
laughed. "Nay, dear, I think we be too much lovers 
for George, who is not in that way." 



MY LORD DIGBY UPON WOMAN 167 

"Is it so indeed?" said Lucinda innocently, and 
was very kind to Colonel Stow thereafter. 

Five and twenty miles away in the old guild house 
at Aylesbury, where the wounded Puritan soldiers 
made hospital, one of their nurses knelt by her bed- 
side, praying. With a work that left her scant time 
to think of herself or days to come, Joan Normandy 
felt life easier. Still there were hours when a lonely 
fear possessed her, and she found no help but in 
prayer. It was not much for herself. She had no 
right to ask of God an easy life. If she could not be 
happy in her lot, the fault was her own, and she 
must cure herself. She prayed for him, her wonder- 
ful hero of the springtime. Colonel Stow never 
knew how magnificent he was to one woman. His 
gaiety and the ease of his strength fascinated. Even 
when she trembled for his scorn of the laws she 
worshipped, there was a strange glamour about him. 
He was clothed with the glory of a maid's first 
dream of man. In the tiny bare attic she knelt all 
white by her bed, and gave herself to a pure yearn- 
ing for him, as a mother yearns over her child. She 
had no thought nor hope to see him again in life, 
but with all the poM'er of her being she prayed for 
him, she pleaded with God in tears and trembling 
that he might be safe and given a good happiness. It 
was of her faith that one soul given utterly to striv- 
ing for another's good might prevail with God. She 
tried. 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

NEWBURY VALE 

""DEFORE this business be done, we shall be the 
-■-^ longest-winded army in England," wrote Sir 
William Waller to his masters, the Parliament. He 
was maneuvering across the middle west with an 
army of infantry against the King's horsemen. He 
complains, moreover, that when he rebuked his men 
they sang to him, and the strain was this, a low- 
song: 

Home! Home! We would be home! 

Ha' done with your thorough, 

Flite ye the morrow, 

We'll drive our furrow 
Home! Home! 

The hint was broad. "An army compounded of 
these men will never go through with your service," 
Sir William Waller protested. But all the while the 
men who had overthrown Rupert on Long Marston 
Moor, the Ironside cavalry, were drawing slowly 
south. They suffered from only one disease — their 
general, my Lord Manchester. His lieutenant gen- 
eral, a Mr. Cromwell of Huntingdon, mentioned it. 

i68 



NEWBURY VALE 169 

While Waller was amid these pathetic difficulties, 
and my Lord Manchester in no hurry to help him, 
the King was fighting my Lord Essex in a comical 
campaign that made Rupert swear but did little else 
good or ill. 

It served Colonel Stow, however. His regiment, 
exercised daily in tactic, not tried too soon by the 
stern shock of a stricken field, grew ready and 
quick. He began to be proud of it, and the men, 
who found he never risked them idly and always 
had a care for them, approved him mightily. Even 
his officers were learning. All went well. But he 
discovered with surprise that half England cared 
nothing for the war. The country folk had an im- 
partial disgust for Cavalier and Puritan. The Cav- 
alier fed on them without paying, the Puritan cut 
down the May-pole and stopped the morris dance. 
How should they care for either victory? What 
hope for them in the rule of plunderer or the rule 
of killjoy? Colonel Stow, watching, understanding 
— it was the best part of his mind that he understood 
unlike men — asked himself sometimes what he had 
to make in it all. But he seemed to see clear. With 
such fair-weather armies — he had not met the Iron- 
side cavalry — the war must drag out long, and in a 
long war men who knew their trade would come to 
power. He saw himself a conqueror among the con- 
querors, a master in England and Englishmen glad 
of him. 

In fine, he esteemed himself still highly. It was 



170 COLONEL GREATHEART 

a state necessary to his happiness. Lucinda had 
long letters of joy. Do not doubt that she was 
happy, too. I think she believed in him always. 

The wind of Waller's army held out. My Lord 
Manchester, "sweet, meek man," stayed his hand 
from breaking the head of his lieutenant general, 
and joined them at Reading before Rupert and the 
King could eat them up. There was marching and 
counter-marching in the vale of Kennet, and at last^ 
under the wooded hills that sheltered Newbury, the 
outposts met, and the Puritan troopers flung them- 
selves from the saddle and knelt to thank God for 
the sight. There was no doubt of battle. Crom- 
well was there, and Rupert. 

Where Speen Hill rises above the meeting rivers 
Rupert chose the ground, and through an autumn 
day the King's infantry scarred the hill's wealth of 
timber with a breastwork. Below, in the wooded 
angle between the clear waters of Lambourne and 
Kennet, musketeers lined the hedge-rows, and in the 
open meadows under the guns of Donnington castle 
the horsemen awaited their chance. It was a position 
folly could hardly weaken. Colonel Royston, rid- 
ing along the front with his friend, allowed himself 
to admire. "If they have any gentleman that is fool 
enough to fight, he will break his nose here, Jerry," 
said he. 

"There is Cromwell, whom the Palatine calls 
Ironside," said Colonel Stow. "They say he is very 
hot in the charge. I'gad, I need some faith to be- 



NEWBURY VALE 171 

lieve it, for when I knew him in Stoke he was half 
a natural by reason of too much religion." 

Colonel Royston laughed. "Jerry, my dear, pray 
for a few fanatics. None else will dare come at 
you." 

But Colonel Stow was something pensive. " 'Tis 
a footman's battle, I fear. I find no space for a 
shock. These hedge-rows are mighty neat for your 
musketeers, but 'tis no gentlemanly way of fighting. 
Gustavus for me, and a brigade at speed." 

Colonel Royston shook his head. "A wasteful 
tactic, Jerry. Give me Scotch musketeers and Swed- 
ish pikes, and I'll break the best charge you bring. 
It's an archaic beast, your horseman. The world is 
the footman's now." 

"Alack for a dull gray world," sighed Colonel 
Stow. 

"Faith, you are born out of time, Jerry. You 
should have ridden with Monsieur Amadis of Gaul, 
or the late Lancelot of the Lake. You like your 
fights romantic. I only want to win." 

Colonel Stow laughed. "Ah, I want much more 
than that." 

Royston looked at him queerly. "Yes, you want 
too much, you and she." 

They parted soon, and in silence, and Colonel 
Stow came back to his quarters at Donnington, 
shadowed with solemnity. 

Major Dick Stewart was awaiting him, more flam- 
boyant than for many a day. "Aha, Colonel," 



172 COLONEL GREATHEART 

says he, with a knowing grin at Colonel Stow's 
grave face, "you apprehend a battle, eh ?" 

"Nay," said Colonel Stow sweetly, "my appre- 
hension is there may be none." 

"Ay, you burn for one, indeed." 

Colonel Stow opened his eyes, "I had hoped you 
had learned your position. Major," he said sadly. 

"And I thought you would forget your promise, 
ods bones!" cried the major in triumph, 

"Oh." Colonel Stow understood. "I am engaged 
to cross swords with the gentleman of the regiment 
who does most gallantly. But indeed. Major, I 
never hoped for the pleasure of meeting you." 

Major Stewart snarled. 

"I wonder you think this manner worth while," 
said Colonel Stow pensively. "It does not amuse 
me, and appears painful to yourself." 

"Zounds, sir," cried the major, "we shall see if 
you can jeer to-morrow." 

"I warn you, 'tis in battle I am most satiric," said 
Colonel Stow. 

The major flung away from him, muttering. 

On the next day, when dawn broke dull red, the 
King's men saw a brigade counter-marching round 
the base of the hills by Winterbourn to take them in 
the rear. At the same time there was a feint upon 
the front by some horsemen, who got nothing but a 
rough handling for their pains. The growing light 
showed hill and valley alive with men. It was a 
strange, clitickefed array, mbre like a dozen armies 



NEWBURY VALE 173 

than two, for countless colors and fashions and 
strange panoplies broke the dull peace of meadow 
and hedge-row. Trooper and footman of those nota- 
ble Ironside regiments of the Eastern Counties were 
indeed alike in tawny red. Rupert's horsemen had 
no color save blue and steel. But the rest of the 
army was any color, and all colors — orange and 
green and white, violet and gray, as it were a mas- 
querade on the hills. Only my Lord Manchester 
had made his men wear green boughs in their 
morions, so that they marched like a copse at war. 

The matches were blazing along the hedge-rows. 
The musketeers filled their mouths with bullets and 
felt the powder cases in their rattling bandoleers. 
Already the Puritan pikemen were closing upon 
Speen Hill. The quarter cannon and sakers behind 
the breastwork there began to fire, and played hard, 
and, quoth Sir William Waller, "they made the 
ground mighty hot." But though their ranks were 
rent, the pikemen worked on steadily, and when it 
came to push of steel the musketeers had no hope 
to stand against them, but ran from hedge to hedge. 
Slowly the green boughs won to the foot of the hill, 
and Skippon, the sergeant major general, who knew 
his trade, halted them there a while, though the 
cannon were fierce upon them. Then he raised the 
shout, "The sword of the Lord!" and sprang for- 
ward up the hill. By the breastwork there was a 
long, stern fight. They had no room for skilled 
tactic, or the power of massed numbers; it was man 



174 COLONEL GREATHEART 

for man, and the victory to the stronger, stubborner 
men. The King's men had courage. There was no 
question of that in the wildest, riotous regiment. 
But it needed more than courage and a sportsman's 
joy of a fight to hold out till dark, thrusting and 
bearing the thrust of the eighteen-foot pikes. While 
the sun was still high, the breastwork was won, and 
the Puritans came over it, singing a psalm : 

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place 

In generations all. 
Before Thou ever hadst brought forth 

The mountains, great or small. 

They "clapped their hats on the touch-holes of 
the guns to claim them for their own," halted to 
form again, and charged on down the hill after the 
King's men. But there was to be no easy victory. 
As soon as they were off the hillside the hedge- 
rows rattled musketry, and their front was smitten 
away. Still they had the heart to force advance, 
but it was difficult and slow, and the night near. 

Down in the vale Rupert's horsemen faced Crom- 
well. This way and that they moved through the 
meadows, each seeking his chance to take the other 
at advantage. Most of Rupert's men were cursing 
the tactic and delay, and around Colonel Stow 
his officers babbled of white-livered, water-blood 
Roundheads. Colonel Stow laughed. "There's a 
soldier commands there, gentlemen," he said, nod- 



NEVv^BURY VALE 175 

ding to the green boughs of the Puritan troopers. 
"A man who knows when not to fight." 

"Your own kind of courage, Colonel," Major 
Stewart sneered. 

"Yes, sir," said Colonel Stow, eying him serene- 
ly, "for I know how to fight. . . . Oh, zounds, 
the fool !" 

It was a tribute to my Lord Cleveland. My Lord 
Cleveland suffered from the ability to believe him- 
self a leader of cavalr>^ He had chosen to fling his 
regiment at Cromwell, and the lieutenant general, 
who desired nothing better, split his brigade in two 
and let a half fall on either flank of my Lord Cleve- 
land's unhappy men. They had been utterly over- 
whelmed but for Colonel Stow, who swung his 
regiment round and made as if he would take the 
Puritans in rear. They faced about to meet him, their 
trap was spoiled, and my Lord Cleveland's men 
straggled back in disorder. But their colonel had 
gone down in the charge, and their standard of a 
lion with a beagle baying at him was gone to swell 
the Puritan trophies. Colonel Stow drew off. There 
had been no more than some snapping of pistols be- 
tween the front ranks. 

There was naught to be won of a charge, and soon 
either side fell back. Twilight was darkening. 
"Rot me!" growled Major Stewart, "one runs no 
risks in this regiment. Od burn me, not one poor 
charge !" 

Colonel Stow was looking at the standardless. 



176 COLONEL GREATHEART 

shattered ranks of my Lord Cleveland. "Nay, we'll 
not lose our honor," said he. 

Major Stewart laughed. "J thought we had." 

"You are perhaps a poor judge of honor, Major," 
said Colonel Stow sweetly. 

The major snarled. "Well, Colonel," says he, 
with a scornful truculence, "and since you are so 
honorable to-night, whom do you name to fight you 
— which is the happy man ?" 

"How can I tell?" said Colonel Stow. 

"Fgad, I thought as much. Nay, we'll not be 
bubbled so. Which did most gallantly, you said." 

"And that is for you gentlemen to say," said 
Colonel Stow sweetly. 

"Ods fire, with you in command, no gentleman 
has a chance to be gallant." 

"You see none?" Colonel Stow inquired with some 
interest, and when Major Stewart denied it with 
oaths he laughed. 

"Why, sir, do you mean to slide out of your prom- 
ise?" cried the major. 

"You shall confess I have kept it," said Colonel 
Stow. 



4^ 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

MISTRESS NORMANDY SEES A FRIEND 

pRINCE RUPERT knew and Cromwell knew 
-*- that those stubborn Puritan pikemen who won 
Speen Hill had decided the issue of the day. Crom- 
well and Rupert both looked often anxious to the 
main body of the Parliament army about Newbury, 
where my Lord Manchester had command. If 
Manchester would but hurl his brigades on the 
King's infantry, they could be taken in front and 
rear and trampled to powder. With fierce messages 
Cromwell's orderlies sped to my Lord Manchester 
again and again. But my Lord Manchester, that 
"sweet, meek man," would not be so harsh as to de- 
feat his foe. Twilight fell on a half-fought fight. 

Prince Rupert, unlike my Lord Manchester, could 
make up his mind. He saw swiftly that the weak 
position left him was not to be held, and swiftly 
came his orders for retreat. The gentleman who 
brought them to Colonel Stow's regiment could not 
find Colonel Stow, and Major Stewart swore by his 
honor and much else that the white cuckoo had de- 
serted. 

If he had seen the going of Colonel Stow he would 
177 



178 COLONEL GREATHEART 

have been more sure of it. Colonel Stow was pos- 
sessed with an idea that pleased him, and it took 
him a strange course. "The best of a soldier that I 
have known," Colonel Royston calls him, "and al- 
ways of a great sanity," and Royston, though a 
friend, was no fool. But Colonel Stow lived a sol- 
dier of dreams. There were hours when he must 
fling sane duty away and ride with romance. A 
deed of wild splendor could allure the man whose 
nature would not let him waste a troop in rashness. 
He loved, doubtless — as in a rare sneer at his friend 
Colonel Royston hints somewhere — he loved to con- 
ceive himself decorated with a knight errant's glory. 
He was a subject of vanity. But chiefly he desired 
this wild work for the throb of it, the instant peril of 
all. That made for him the best of life. 

So you see him in the twilight, with a Puritan's 
green bough in his hat, and a Puritan's red cloak 
about him, working craftily round to the rear of 
Cromwell's troopers. They were dismounted and 
loosening girths, and making ready to bivouac. 
Colonel Stow came through them at an easy pace, 
whistling the tune Martyrdom. 

"Whence, brother? And with what fortune?" 
cried a swart troop sergeant. 

"Praise the Lord !" Colonel Stow exhorted him. 
"From Sir William Waller, to whom the Lord hath 
been very gracious. What fortune with you?" 

The troop sergeant groaned in spirit. "The Lord 
hath not suff"ered us to do an execution. Wc are 



JOAN NORMANDY SEES A FRIEND 179 

miserable sinners and unworthy. We have gone to 
and fro in the earth, and walked up and down in it, 
yet we have accomplished nothing save some small 
overthrow of one regiment of the men of Belial, 
from whom we took their colonel and their stand- 
ard." 

"A standard!" cried Colonel Stow in righteous 
ecstasy. "Nay, but you jest." 

The sergeant groaned. "What have I to do with 
jesting? I am a vessel of wrath." 

Colonel Stow asked pardon for mistaking him. 
"Whose was this standard, then?" 

"Man, what do I know? We fight not for such 
gauds. 'Tis sent to the man Henry Montagu, whom 
the children of this world call Earl of Manchester." 

"And the children of God call fool," said Colonel 
Stow, and won a sour smile from the sergeant, and 
rode on. The affair prospered excellently. 

The darkness was falling swift, and the fires made 
black shadows that Colonel Stow used well. Him- 
self scarce seen, he watched the gathering crowds 
and their bearing, and caught scraps of talk. They 
fascinated him, these soldiers who could not joke. 
He saw them through the lurid, smoky light, belts 
loosed, corselets unlaced, but with no joy in their 
ease. They crowded round the soup pots to argue 
whether the Lord was displeased with them for fro- 
wardness, or my Lord Manchester, like Saul who 
slew not Agag. He caught the strong accent of his 
own Buckinghamshire, and checked a moment to 



i8o COLONEL GREATHEART 

hear Ingoldsby's regiment holding a prayer-meet- 
ing till their pots boiled. They were doubtless ludi- 
crous, but that was not what troubled Colonel Stow. 
They were too much in earnest to be jaleasant ene- 
mies. He liked a little humor upon the other side. 

Again and again a patrol challenged him for his 
errand and was satisfied to hear that he came from 
Sir William Waller. Colonel Stow always made 
one lie take him as far as it would. His first dan- 
ger came as he drew upon the houses of Newbury 
town. He heard the ring of his own voice before 
him and had almost ridden against his brother. 
There was a party of Puritan officers too much con- 
cerned in their own debate to mark Colonel Stow's 
sudden break of pace behind them. Colonel Stow 
heard that his brother was displeased with the world 
and my Lord Manchester. The sentiment appeared 
general. 

Newbury town was noisily alive. The streets 
throbbed with chatter and argument. Soldier and 
citizen wrangled vehemently in biblical phrase on 
the fortune of the day and the morrow, and Colonel 
Stow had no difficulty in avoiding attention. He 
learned easily that my Lord Manchester's quarters 
were at the Sun and saw with a glad relief his 
brother turn into the courtyard of the Blue Bear. 

The market-place was half light with the glare 
of lanterns and torches and by the door of the bor- 
ough hall, made hospital for the hour's need, grave 
browed nurses stood waiting for the first convoy 



JOAN NORMANDY SEES A FRIEND i8i 

of wounded. There was one who as Colonel Stow 
turned from the bridge and rode into the light gave 
a strange choked cry of alarm and caught her 
breast. "It is nothing, it is nothing," she gasped as 
the others turned to her. "A tiny shooting pain. It 
is gone. It is past." She was Joan Normandy. Colo- 
nel Stow heard her cry and the murmuring voice 
and was most careful not to see her. But the heart 
in him beat queerly. Some tone in that cry troubled 
him. And Joan Normandy thanked God that he had 
not heard and gazed after him wide-eyed and white, 
trembling. He frightened her with a wild hope. He 
wore the Puritan tokens, the Puritan colors; and 
still she dared not let herself believe that he had 
given himself to her faith. That were too great a 
joy. But he was near, he was near, and her blood 
surged quick and she strained after him. 

Colonel Stow, brazen enough, rode up to the door 
of the Sun, my Lord Manchester's inn, dismounted 
and gave his horse in charge to one of the lads 
of the town who gaped about the doorway. A mo- 
ment he stood and with swift eye considered the 
position. My Lord Manchester had no more guard 
than a single sentry at his door. The market-place 
had a hundred tiny crowds of soldier and citizen 
all chattering together, but there was not so much 
as a sergeant's guard under arms. It promised 
well. Colonel Stow turned by the broad gateway to 
the Sun. 

He approached the sentry with a flattering air 



i82 COLONEL GREATHEART 

of confidence. "Hark ye, brother, where will I 
find the captain of the guard?" 

The sentry permitted himself to grin. "Do 'e 
want your head bit off?" 

"Nay," said Colonel Stow, "I have an unreason- 
able kindness for it." 

"Then keep yourself away from Captain Billy 
Vaughan," said the sentry. 

Colonel Stow scratched his nose. "There is 
doubtless some one more amiable?" he suggested. 

"And if so be there be," said the sentry, looking 
excessively wise, "why should I tell you?" Colonel 
Stow put his hand in his pocket. The sentry 
grinned more broadly. Colonel Stow was relieved 
to find some one corruptible in this righteous army. 
A shilling passed, "Do 'e ax for Sergeant Bob 
Willey. He'll not be far from the tap." 

Colonel Stow proceeded, following the smell of 
liquor. Not indeed in the tap, lest discipline should 
be shamed, but within easy reach of it he found a 
red round man with a sergeant's orange scarf on his 
buff coat. "Sergeant Willey?" quoth he and the 
round man wheezed. "May I speak with you?" 

"Surely," said Sergeant Willey. 

"Shall we crack a quart first?" 

"Surely," said Sergeant Willey and grinned. "If 
you pay for it." 

Colonel Stow remarked to himself that my Lord 
Manchester's quarters had a different atmosphere 
from the rest of the army. He drew Sergeant Wil- 



JOAN NORMANDY SEES A FRIEND 183 

ley away to a corner and they burled their noses 
in tankards of the oldest October. Then, " 'Tis a 
little affair of my own," says Colonel Stow myste- 
riously. "I am a trooper of Ireton's and when the 
malignants charged us to-day I had the luck to 
win one of their standards by a thrust in the short 
ribs. Well, the standard, my quartermaster saith, 
he sent to my lord here. But I have found a low 
fellow of Cromwell's regiment swears there was 
but one taken to-day and he took it. Prithee, tell 
me, that I may call him liar, what have you here." 

"There is but one brought in, my bully. A thing 
of a red lion with a yellow dog that yelps at him." 

"'Tis the true likeness of mine!" cried Colonel 
Stow, in an ingenuous rage. "Verily, I will chas- 
tise that vain boaster with whips and with scorpions. 
Prithee, sir, help me to a sight of this that I may 
know it and be sure. I would not lightly make 
strife in the army of the Lord." 

"O, faith, if you are for swingeing one of Noll 
Cromwell's varlets none of my lord's men will balk 
you. I'll help you to the rag, my bully. Follow 
on, and good luck to your quarrel, follow on." 

He led the way up to a disorderly guard-room 
where half a dozen troopers lolled and snored and 
drank. He took from a corner the tattered stand- 
ard and shook it out carelessly. It was stiff with 
blood. "There is the ugly rag," said he with a 
sneer of a laugh at it and flung it down on the 
floor. Colonel Stow's eyes flashed. The soul of 



i84 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Sergeant Willey annoyed him. "Is that yours, my 
buck ?" quoth Sergeant Willey and stirred the blood 
stained folds with his foot. 

Colonel Stow picked it up with a gentle care and 
spread it wider, drawing back with that pretence to 
the door. "Yes, it is mine," he said gravely, and 
on the word smote Sergeant Willey down with the 
staff and darted out, slamming the door. He took 
the stairs in a leap, he rushed across the courtyard. 
Shouts arose behind him and the hea\y thud of the 
troopers. "Halt there! Seize him! Seize him! A 
malignant! Seize him!" And under the gateway 
a man did seize him. Colonel Stow found himself 
gazing close into a red fleshy face from which gray 
eyes flashed pale. It was Cromwell himself. Colonel 
Stow put the staff of the standard between General 
Cromwell's legs and flinging himself forward, upset 
General Cromwell and broke away. The sentry 
drove a pike at him and he slipped beneath the 
thrust and leaped to his saddle. Men ran to snatch 
at his bridle, but he drove in his spurs and the 
horse bounded forward, hurling them down. One 
of Cromwell's escort had time to rein round in his 
path, but the staff of the standard emptied the sad- 
dle like a lance and Colonel Stow crashed across 
the market while the little crowds of chatterers 
fled out of his way. He stood up in his stirrups. 
"For the King!" he shouted. "For the King!" and 
so sped away from the half light of the market- 
place into the gloom. 



JOAN NORMANDY SEES A FRIEND 185 

There was one who watched him go with a wild 
gleam in her eyes ; her bosom surged high and her 
cheeks were hot. She was alive with a strange joy. 
She was keenly, fiercely glad of his deed and proud. 
She throbbed with mad life. He was her hero of 
the springtime, and none like him among men. He 
dared, and, gay and splendid, he conquered the 
impossible. It was good, it was good to give her 
heart to him. . . . Not then nor for many an 
hour did she think to weep that his deeds were for 
her foes, that he was pledged still to another faith, 
another love. . . . He was fearless and strong 
and great. . . . While she toiled that night 
through to ease the pain of the wounded, her soul 
was singing a strange melody. 

Colonel Stow was heartily anxious as he broke 
away through the dark streets. He could hear 
Cromwell's troopers behind him and he did not 
know the town. Only he meant to get out of it on 
the side remote from the armies. By the turn of 
the road to Hungerford two of the Puritans caught 
him up and he heard the whirr of their wheel locks 
and struck out behind him with the full length of 
the standard. He hit something. The shots went 
wild and he had time for his sword before they 
closed. He drew rein sharply and they were borne 
by him before they were aware. Then from behind 
he came at them with the point and one went down 
over the horse's head and the wild blows of the 
other but grazed down his arm as he was away 



i86 COLONEL GREATHEART 

again. Still the others pressed after him and he 
thundered through the peace of the country night, 
watching the hedge-rows. At last he saw a meadow 
clear from the road to the river and reined short off. 
One quick scurry over the turf and his horse took 
the water. The Puritans had their fill. They halted 
steaming horses and trained pistols for him. But 
it was an ill shot for wheel locks in the gloom and 
the balls whistled far wide. Colonel Stow rose on 
the farther bank and waved the standard round his 
head, shouting, "For the King! For the King!" 

Wet and ragged, his face splashed with blood, he 
came back to his regiment. It was mustering for 
retreat. Major Stewart, enjoying himself in com- 
mand, received his colonel with no affectation of 
pleasure. "Od rot me," says he, "I swore you had 
gone over to the other side." 

"It may surprise you," said Colonel Stow sweet- 
ly, "but you spoke the truth." 

"If I ever knew what you meant," Major Stew- 
art grumbled, "it would be better for both of us." 

"Who knows?" said Colonel Stow. "Well, I had 
to fetch something. Major, will you send that to 
Prince Rupert with the duty of Colonel Stow's regi- 
ment?" 

"By the Lord," said Major Stewart very slowly, 
"it is Cleveland's standard !" 

"Your surprise does not flatter me," said Colonel 
Stow. 



CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE 

COLONEL STOW KEEPS THE PEACE 

THROUGH the darkness, the King's army de- 
filed past the front of my Lord Manchester's 
position and took the road for Oxford. My Lord 
Manchester was kind enough to neglect so fair a 
chance of attack. For which he was after mightily 
blamed. But it seems likely that at the moment of 
opportunity my Lord Manchester had enough to do 
in bracing himself against a torrent of reproaches 
from the lieutenant general, who loved him hourly 
less. 

So the weary Cavaliers made away north over 
gray uphill roads the long night through. Not till 
dawn did they dare stay for a bivouac. On the re- 
verse of the hills beyond Ilsley the camp-fires 
broke against the first blue light and worn-out men 
slept where they fell. Colonel Stow and his offi- 
cers, gathered round a fire, looked at one another 
queerly through the pungent smoke. There was 
silence. 

The sutler brought them cheese and biscuit and 
187 



i88 COLONEL GREATHEART 

a jar of ale. "Well, gentlemen," says Colonel Stow, 
beginning to munch, "there was some matter of a 
duello, I think. Have you made your election? 
Which of you have I the honor to meet?" 

Major Dick Stewart swore pensively at creation. 
Then there was silence again. 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "The next move is 
yours, gentlemen," said he, and went on with his 
cheese. 

"Split me," said Major Stewart, and for a while 
expressed no other desire. Colonel Stow, munch- 
ing placidly, felt their eyes converge upon him. I 
can not conceal that he was subject to vanity. Then, 
"How a murrain can we fight you?" the Major 
blurted out. "If you'll fight the man that did best 
to-day, fight yourself. Od rot you, you have beat 
us all. And we — well, we are all for you, and there 
is no more to it" 

*'Sein d'enjer" said Captain Sedley daintily, "I 
will recant some words of mine. I profess I have 
a cruel tongue. I ask pardon, Colonel, and salute 
you de bon cocur. No Cavalier can do more." And 
from the rest, who despised Captain Sedley's gift of 
words, there was a gruff muttering. 

Colonel Stow was ready to make repentance easy. 
"No need for so much, gentlemen," said he quickly, 
and stretched out his hand to Major Stewart. "The 
truth is, I was only seeking the right to keep peace 
with you." 

"The truth is," growled Major Stewart, "you are 



COLONEL STOW KEEPS THE PEACE 189 

beyond us and we be fools. Split me, we be fools." 
The other gentlemen had not the same zeal in con- 
fession, but they did not deny it. 

It was a holy frame of mind. "I foresee that 
we shall be a happy regiment, gentlemen," said 
Colonel Stow. They looked some doubt of living 
up to his emotions. "If only we had more beer," 
said he sadly, and won all their hearts. They guf- 
fawed affectionately. In the midst of which, vague 
through the smoky light, a large man came stalk- 
ing to them. There was no mistaking the Palatine. 

"Colonel Stow?" he called out, and with Colonel 
Stow the officers scrambled to their feet. "I've come 
for a share of your cheese, gentlemen," says he, 
and squatted down by their fire. They made their 
circle again and the Palatine filled his mouth. "I'll 
swear you get the best provand in the army, Jerry 
Stow. Mine is maggots," said he. 

"Our sutler is the best thief in the army," said 
Colonel Stow with modest pride. 

"Then I shall hang him to encourage the others." 

"He would certainly steal the rope, sir." 

"Humph !" Prince Rupert's eyes grew keen. "Did 
he steal that standard?" 

"O, sir, he has no time for trifles. Consider this 
excellent ale — which I do trust never belonged to 
your Highness." 

"It does now," said his Highness, after an ad- 
mirable potation, "and I defy your sutler. But we 
are going to talk of that standard, my friend." 



I90 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Your Highness will find the beer vastly more 
interesting." 

His Highness finished the beer and remarked 
that it had no more interest. "Now, my friend, who 
won that standard back?" 

"My regiment had the honor to present it to 
Your Highness. Your Highness will be good 
enough to give the credit to the regiment." 

"Damn your civilities," said the Palatine. "Do 
you tell me you marched on Manchester together?" 

"I beg Your Highness to count it the gift of the 
whole regiment. And to believe you wrong no man 
in thanking all." 

">Hdllendonner, are you to order my conduct?" 
cried the Palatine. "Who won the thing and how?" 

"If Your Highness considers the deed worth any 

advancement, it should be for Major Stewart here." 

. "Hang me if you need be so anxious to rob a man 

of his laurels," said Rupert with a sneer. " 'Tis a 

curst mean spirit and " 

"Here, here," spluttered Major Stewart, "od rot 
me, this is all topsy turvy. 'Twas the Colonel him- 
self took the thing. I would be boiled before I went 
hawking among the Ironsides." 

Rupert turned upon Colonel Stow. "Now, what 
a pox is this play for?" said he with some irrita- 
tation. 

"Faith, I did take the thing, but 'twas purely 
for the honor of the regiment, and I beg Your High- 
ness to give your thanks to Major Stewart, to whom 



COLONEL STOW KEEPS THE PEACE 191 

I owe a debt, for commanding where he might com- 
mand." 

"Humph !" Rupert frowned at him. "You will 
be so very kind as to tell me a little simple truth." 

"It shall be purely bald," said Colonel Stow, and 
made his tale so. 

But before the end of it Rupert was clapping him 
on the shoulder and guffawing tumultuously. "I 
would give my garter," he gasped, "to have seen 
Noll Cromwell on his hinder end." When all was 
told he was some while in growing grave. Then, 
"Faith, you ought to have been a knight errant," 
said he. "And what the devil am I to do for you?" 
Colonel Stow looked at his major. "Ay, I know," 
and rising he gripped hands with both of them. 

Major Stewart was more red than nature. He 
grunted profusely, staring at his colonel. "You 
make me cursed uncomfortable," said he. 

That is the whole matter of the standard, which, 
as Colonel Royston said, was neither war nor busi- 
ness. There are more moral people than he who 
admire it but little; some of good judgment who 
sneer at Colonel Stow for his pains. Doubtless 
there was a gaudy vanity in it all, but if you have 
no mercy for that, you will not understand Colonel 
Stow, nor why some men and women loved him 
strangely. 



CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO 

lovers' meeting 

O O WITH no great loss, yet with no great glory, 
*^ the King's army won back to Oxford. They 
had fought a tiresome campaign and ended it no 
better off than they began. There were some gen- 
tlemen, like Colonel Strozzi of the artillery, who 
began to make ready for a change. The longer the 
war, the better the Puritan chance of victory; for 
the King had no money. Oxford welcomed his 
army with no exuberant gaiety, and even my Lord 
Jermyn's splendors were something bedraggled. 

But Colonel Stow never permitted himself to 
borrow other people's despair. There was a lilt in 
his walk as he went through the snow showers of 
a December morning to wait on Lucinda. 

She gave herself to his arms and came from them 
rosy, with sparkling eyes. Then, as he held her 
away to look at her, he was aware of an elegant 
mourning robe, black and silver. Black became 
Lucinda's richness well. He was swiftly grave. 
"You have had some loss, child?" 

"My mother," said Lucinda calmly. "It was 
192 



LOVERS' MEETING i93 

hard for her to leave the Manor. She never had 
much strength after." 

Colonel Stow frowned at her. He felt a dis- 
cord. "I am most sorry," he said gravely. 

"I do not know," said Lucinda. "She had not 
been happy. I never remember her happy." 

Colonel Stow repented of a rash censure. "Dear, 
it is hard for you," he said tenderly, and rested his 
hand on her shoulder. 

Lucinda laughed. "O, I — she and I were not 
much to each other, you know." 

Colonel Stow took his hand away. "She was 
kind to us," he said with a shade of reproof in his 
tone. 

"Was she?" said Lucinda. "I never knew her 
kind or unkind to any one. Yes, she was like that. 
I do not think she was fond of life." 

Colonel Stow felt a harsher discord. "You are 
not troubled by much regret," he said severely. 

"Why should I pretend?" 

Colonel Stow turned away from her to the win- 
dow and looked out at the whirling snow. She 
hurt him. He believed in tenderness and the emo- 
tions. He was of those who find the worth of man 
or woman in tears. Lucinda, lying back on her 
cushions watching him with that strange, puzzling 
smile of hers, thought him, I suppose, something of 
a fool. . . . He struggled to convince him- 
self she was not callous. . . . He came to 
her. "Dear, you are brave . . . and true," 



194 COLONEL GREATHEART 

he said, and felt it sounded queerly. "I am stupid, 
I think. . . . Indeed, I seek to keep you from 
sorrow." 

"I am not afraid," said Lucinda. "Indeed, sir, I 
think I never was afraid of anything but you." Her 
eyes grew dark and intent. "You know — too much 
of me" she said. 

"I would know all to love it better." 

Lucinda laughed. "I wonder . . . and I won- 
der if I know all of you." 

"I need no better love at least." 

"That may be," she said gravely. Then, tossing 
back her curls, "Well, sir, and what great deeds 
have you brought me back from the wars ?" 

This note was true to Colonel Stow's taste. He 
smiled at last. "I tell myself I have not done un- 
worthily." 

There was gaiety in Lucinda's laugh. She had 
never been blind to Colonel Stow's vanity and liked 
him for it the better. "Tell me a score of the finest 
deeds," said she, settling herself in a delectable pose 
on her cushions. 

"I have made a rabble into a regiment and gen- 
tlemen of the tavern into officers." 

Lucinda yawned. "It is doubtless more glorious 
than amusing." 

"And they adore me for it." 

"But why should I ?" 

"Nay, Heaven forbid you should adore me." 

"I fear It has," said Lucinda. 



LOVERS' MEETING I95 

"I am content. It has bidden you love." 

"Why, sir, there was indeed compulsion." Her 
eyes sparkled wickedness. "But whether of Heaven 
— well, 'tis not maidenly to think so." 

"Faith, I belong to this world," Colonel Stow ad- 
mitted. "But I think you are not all of another 
neither." 

Her eyes met him fairly still, but a slow blush 
came. After a while, "I believe you play with me 
because you have nothing to boast of," she said. 

"I have no skill in boasting," said Colonel Stow, 
and doubtless believed it. "But there is something 
to tell." And he began the exploit of the standard. 

. . "It was the Ironside himself that grap- 
pled me, but I sat him down disconsolate. The sen- 
try at the gate advanced his pike at me, but I made 
under that and flung myself up in the saddle. 
There was one of Noll's men in my way and I gave 
him the standard butt like a Magyar's lance, and 
he was down, too, and I was away at speed through 
the town. Noll's men made after me and there was 
a small affair with a pair of them, for which one is 
now sorry, before I got a chance to break to the 
river. We swam that with the pistols blazing all 
ways behind us, but the Roundheads would not 
bathe, and I came easily to the army and sent the 
standard back to the Palatine with the compliments 
of the regiment." He had his reward. Lucinda's 
breath came fast and her eyes shone for him. Her 
hands were close clenched. 



196 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"I am glad, I am glad !" she cried. "Yes ! . . . 
And what did Prince Rupert send you back?" 

Colonel Stow laughed. "An oath or so." She 
sat erect and fierce. "Why, you see I was more 
modest with him than with you and would not tell 
him whose the deed was." 

"But you did?" There w.as a hard, sharp ring 
in her voice that he did not know. 

"Yes." He looked his surprise at her, "Faith, 
yes," and he chuckled. "I told him and begged 
him give the reward to fat Stewart, the major." He 
laughed happily. The boyish magnificence of it, 
his own naiVe vanity brought him pure joy. 

But a queer change came over Lucinda's face. 
Her lips shaped to a sneer. "You make everything 
like a boy's game." 

Colonel Stow opened his eyes. "Why, yes. All 
the world is a boy's game, if you make it so." 

"I am a woman," said Lucinda. 

"No man will ever complain of that." 

"Will you give me only a boy?" 

He came close beside her. "Is that all I am?" he 
said in a low voice and slipped his arm about her. 

But she broke away. "O, you are like a child 
that is always crying, 'How fine I am !' I believe 
you think of nothing but making yourself a fool's 
hero of mad romance. What kind of man is it that 
longs and strives to be like mad Quixote? You — 
you are as vain of it as a girl of her gown." 

Colonel Stow flushed. He felt a pitiless truth 



LOVERS' MEETING i97 

about some of that and it troubled him. " 'Tis so, 
in fact, dear," said he with a doleful laugh. "I am 
something of a peacock." 

"In the name of Heaven, do not be meek," cried 
Lucinda. "That is not to be borne. O, I hate your 
great souled hero with no brain for himself." 

"Why," Colonel Stow protested, "all I have is 
mighty anxious to take care of me." 

"What help is it then? You do .a rare, great deed 
and get nothing for it; you care only to look the 
Quixote and cry, 'Nay, pay another, not me! I am 
above such gauds !' But I have no patience for it. 
I despise a man that is .afraid to be greedy." 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "I am afraid of many 
things. I have never denied it." 

"And you pretend strength to me?" 

Colonel Stow looked in her eyes. "Yes," he 
said. 

She started up. "I hate all this. It is not real. 
It is all words and a show. Do you know? Do you 
know? You are; making yourself no more than a ro- 
mance book for me. What worth is there in all 
you have done? How are you the better? What 
have you won by it?" 

"If you do not know, I can not tell you, madame." 

"I detest your loftiness!" 

Colonel Stow bowed. "I shall try to get more." 

Lucinda stamped her foot. "Do you seek to put 
me in a passion against you?" 

"I hope I may never give you better reason," said 



198 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Stow. "Nay, child, I doubt I am a vain 
fool, and you are too honest for me. Let it rest. 
Faith, I can not afford to be at war with you." 

"I am in no temper for peace," said Lucinda. 

When in a little while Colonel Stow left her his 
hand was at his chin and his brow furrowed. 



CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE 

LUCINDA WEEPS 

'nr^HE court had a wintry melancholy. Its pride 
-^ was decaying. The assurance of triumph that 
never came was enfeebled. Queen Henrietta, who 
expected a child, was out of spirits and there was 
a notable scarcity of money. It would have been 
disloyal to affect gaiety and impossible when one's 
jewels were sold. Colonel Royston compared the 
assembly in Merton hall to birds at the moulting 
time. So harsh were their voices, so stale their 
finery. Colonel Royston had a grim pleasure in the 
exhibition till he came upon one who excelled the 
rest in gloom, yet escaped the ridiculous. It was 
Lucinda, While he bowed he sneered at himself 
as a fool for seeing her. Lucinda did not speak, 
but there was appeal in her eyes. 

Royston felt himself flush. "I have to offer my 
regrets, madame," he said with a gesture to her 
mourning gown. 

"My mother." 

Colonel Royston bowed .again. 

"Will you give me escort home?" she said list- 
lessly. "There is no one else." 

199 



200 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Royston laughed. "You flatter me." And he 
made a way for her through the crowd. 

Lucinda was of better fortune than some. She 
had still a coach. Colonel Royston handed her in 
and showed no zeal to follow. She leaned back with 
a shrug and a careless, "As you will." Colonel Roy- 
ston came in beside her. 

They were jolted up St. Aldate's. It was not 
possible to avoid the touch of her shoulder, her 
perfume. But she showed no interest in Colonel 
Royston and he looked at her black and then with 
surprise not all cynical at her listless brow. He was 
not able to believe in a mourning Lucinda. And yet 
she was no creature of aff"ectation. "You are not 
inspiring, madame," said he. 

"So I find," said Lucinda with a quick light in 
her eyes. 

"I suppose I am not inflammable," Colonel Roy- 
ston sneered. She had a trick of waking the bru- 
tality in him. 

"I was not thinking of you," said Lucinda care- 
lessly. 

Colonel Royston did not miss the inference. It 
was Colonel Stow who failed to answer to her de- 
sires. He could easily believe it. And he felt some 
contempt for both of them. For Lucinda because 
she was -not high enough to be content with his 
friend; for his friend because he did not satisfy 
Lucinda's need. "I always found Jerry asked an 



LUCINDA WEEPS 201 

uncomfortable virtue of me," he .admitted with 
a grin. 

"I do not know why you should sneer?" she 
looked at him with grave, questioning eyes. 

"I am made for it." 

"Poor creature," said Lucinda. 

The coach drew up at her door in Holywell. He 
was punctilious in handing her out With her hand 
still in his she checked and turned. "Will it please 
you to come in?" 

"I am not amusing, madame." 

She gave a queer, scornful laugh. "O, if you 
are afraid !" and passed on. 

But Colonel Royston, who, unlike his friend, con- 
ceived himself afraid of nothing, followed her close. 
. . . He stood over her while she held out her 
'hands to the fire and its light fell on her neck. "I 
wonder. . . . Did you ever want more of a 
woman than she had?" 

Colonel Royston laughed. "Always. And there- 
fore took nothing." 

"I wonder . . . Does a woman always dis- 
appoint a man?" 

"Unless he is a fool," Royston assured her. 

She leaned her head full back to look up at him. 
The light laughed about her breast. "And the man 
— he always disappoints the woman, perhaps?" she 
said in a low voice. 

"If he has disappointed you," said Colonel Roy- 



202 COLONEL GREATHEART 

ston with grim emphasis, "I do not admire your de- 
sires." 

She bent to the fire again. She was silent so 
long that Royston changed his place to see her full. 
Her eyes were glistening, her cheeks jeweled with 
tears. 

"Humph. You are not proud of yourself, either, 
it seems." 

She looked up fierce. "No one but you has ever 
made me do this," she cried and roughly brushed 
the tears away. She started to her feet and faced 
him. "It is true. I am ashamed, I would to God 
I were fit for him. But there is more. I want 
more." She caught Royston's arm. "You know 
me. There is wild blood in you, too. I am what 
I am." 

Colonel Royston tried to laugh. "Something of 
the tiger, I think." But he was flushed and his 
hand closed on her bare wrist. 

"Would you tame me?" 

"No, faith, you would make me as wild as your- 
self." 

^'I wonder if you could be," she laughed and 
tried to draw her arm away. 

"I can be greedy," said Royston, gripping the 
other, too. He looked down at her with a smile 
of no gaiety. 

"And I could starve you," Lucinda laughed, lean- 
ing away from him so that her weight hung on his 
hands. 



LUCINDA WEEPS 203 

"Yoii would not try." 

"La, you for pride! In truth, sir, I can conceive 
you tiresome as chains." 

"They would grip all of you." 

"That is what I doubt." 

"Or fear?" 

She faltered a moment. There was a faint blush 
on her neck. But, "Nay, faith, I fear nothing," she 
cried gaily, and laughing ,at him, drew away. "Is 
that my charm?" 

"Yes. So that a man wants to make you afraid?" 

"Alack, poor man !" she laughed. 

"O, it would be amusing for him," said Colonel 
Royston in measured tones. His brows were bent 
upon her. 

"But if I made him fear instead?" 

"That is the damnable challenge of you." 

She clapped her hands. "I knew ! You are 
afraid already." 

Colonel Royston laughed. "You are vain, ma- 
dame." 

She flung her arms wide and stood so in the best 
of her beauty. "Have I not the right? Nay, but I 
am not vain. That is little and calm. I am sure 
of myself. That is why I laugh at Colonel Roy- 
ston," and she made him a splendid mocking curtsy. 

"And what do you want of him, pray ?" Royston 
looked down at her with a grim smile. 
"The joy of a fight, sir." 
"And a defeat?" 



204 COLONEL GREATHEART 

She laughed. There was a baffling mystery in 
her eyes. "Do you think you move me as I move 
you?" 

"There is other strength than a woman's," said 
Colonel Royston in a low voice. His eyes were 
blazing. 

"I know no other," said Lucinda, facing him full. 

Colonel Royston made one stride to her, flung a 
hard arm about her and gripped her neck. Crush- 
ing the slim whiteness of it in his big bronzed hand, 
he bore her head back and bent over her. 

She was quivering and hot in his grasp, but her 
eyes brave still. "This is nothing — nothing — ^a 
boor's strength, your body strength." 

"Is that all?" he muttered and his breath beat 
on her cheek. "You know," and his grasp grew 
fiercer. She was helpless utterly in that heavy 
power and knew it She laughed reckless. But 
the laugh broke suddenly and she was pale. Her 
eyes stared wide. While he watched, his arm fell 
lax and he let her go. They stood apart gazing 
steadily at each other. 

Then Lucinda gave a little laugh of no joy. "We 
frighten ourselves, I think." 

Colonel Royston did not deny it He gazed at 
her still a long while silent, then caught up his 
cloak and strode out 



CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR 

THE HOME OF LOST CAUSES 

ly/TATTHIEU-MARC-LUC complained of ev- 
-'-'-'- ery thing, but chiefly of a nutshell. Every- 
thing was wrong and the latter had hit his nose — 
a spot where dignity is apt to reside. Matthieu- 
Marc rubbed the offended nose and looked round 
with indignation for the offender. "You would 
laugh more if you could always see yourself," he 
was assured. It was a girl's voice that came through 
the window of a tiny pastry shop. The owner leaned 
out to him over her wares and Matthieu-M.arc 
found a wholesome rosy face cheek to cheek with 
his. He started back. "O, dear," says she, "you 
are mighty maidenly. Maybe it's why you are so 
miserable." 

Matthieu-Marc shook his head at her. "Be mis- 
erable also, mademoiselle. It is your duty." 

"Your dinner has fallen out with you?" 

"My dinner never falls out with me," said Mat- 
thieu-Marc with indignation. "I am the best cook 
in England." 

"O, dear," says the girl while Matthieu-Marc 
205 



206 COLONEL GREATHEART 

was pruning himself, "what a silly thing to be. A 
woman can cook." 

Matthieu-Marc made a gesture of despair. "If 
you can believe a betise like that you can believe 
this country a place to be happy in." He approached 
her pastry with a supercilious eye and helped him- 
self to a simnel cake. "The oven was not hot," says 
he on the first mouthful. 

"If you want something light, why do 'e eat sim- 
nel?" quoth she. "If you want to be a man why do 
'e be a cook?" 

"I am also a soldier," said Matthieu-Marc with 
dignity. 

"Which makes you look so green?" 

"It is your country, your bilious country," said 
Matthieu-Marc. "Bah, your cooking, your fight- 
ing, it is all the same; you never know what you 
want. Therefore your soups are tragedies, your 
battles farces. Whereas — remark me, madamoiselle 
— ^your proper soup should be a gladsome farce, 
your battle a noble tragedy. You are a country 
emasculate. You never mean anything." 

"Sure, but I do," says the girl. "I mean to 
make love to you." Matthieu-Marc recoiled. "What 
a brave cook!" 

"Consider my modesty," Matthieu-Marc pro- 
tested. 

"Lud, if I do without it, can not you? You are 
a sweet thing of a man. You are that ridiculous." 

"Mademoiselle," said Matthieu-Marc, "you do not 



THE HOME OF LOST CAUSES 207 

appreciate me. I am of a melancholic genius." The 
girl again flicked a nutshell at his nose. "That is 
not a reply," said Matthieu-Marc. 

"That's just what it is," said the girl. "It makes 
you feel what you are — silly." 

"Of what profit is it to me to feel silly.?" Mat- 
thieu-Marc inquired. 

"When you feel silly you'll be happy," said the 
girl. "I know." 

"I would rather not," said Matthieu-Marc sin- 
cerely. 

The girl pulled a face at him. "That's you," said 
she. "But you do it always." 

Matthieu-Marc made a magnificent gesture. "I 
am too noble a nature to be happy." 

"Sure, you're but a child," said the girl. "And 
that is why I like you. Do 'e like me, now?" She 
leaned over her cakes and again the plump face 
came close to his. 

Again Matthieu-Marc recoiled. He coughed. 
"You look healthy," he said with no enthusiasm. 

"I never knew a man so slow with a woman," the 
girl pouted. "And you a soldier! O, save me!" 
She put her hands on her hips and laughed without 
reserve. 

Matthieu-Marc swore in French. It was now he 
who leaned towards her. At which moment a fist 
was inserted between his ribs. "Ha, wickedness! 
Wickedness!" said a jovial voice and Matthieu- 
Marc turned in emotion to discover the roundness 



208 COLONEL GREATHEART 

of Alcibiade, who shook his head sorrowfully. "O, 
my evangelist!" 

Matthieu-Marc retreated without dignity, blush- 
ing and muttering. 

Then Alcibiade entered the pastry shop. "My 
bet," says the girl, laughing still, "you owe me a 
shilling." 

"Not a denier ! You got no kiss of him," Alcibiade 
protested. 

"I would have had but for you." 

Alcibiade shook his head at her. "I fear you 
have been forward, Molly." 

"As forward as yourself," quoth Molly with a 
toss of her head. 

"So bad as that?" said Alcibiade, and thought 
he made her blush. 

But the truth is, Oxford was more in the temper 
of Matthieu-Marc than Alcibiade. The Cavaliers 
had come at last to misdoubt their fortune. They 
made no more scapegoats. It was not Rupert whom 
they condemned, but themselves. Heart and hope 
had gone out of them. They were not truly ready 
to yield. Enough of them liked death better than 
that. But few had any faith in victory. 

It was no blame to them. There was no soul in 
their cause. Their forlorn, melancholy King was not 
one for whom a man might be content to die. He 
stirred none to a quicker life. Pity he won and devo- 
tion ; he could not give a conquering zeal. Indeed, 
he gave nothing to any man. He asked of all. He 



THE HOME OF LOST CAUSES 209 

had no vision and his people perished for him in 
vain. 

There have been armies without clothes or food 
or pay or store of weapons, yet have beaten down 
the best provided foes. But the King's army felt 
its lack and was afraid. It had been hard enough 
to make head against the Puritans when their gen- 
erals were blunderers and all their regiments out 
of gear. Now there was a new model and all the 
old dallying leaders were done away. Sir Thomas 
Fairfax and Ironside Cromwell, the conquerors of 
Marston Moor, had command. Already Oxford 
could feel the change. The Puritan armies were 
drawing strait bonds about the town. Only the 
road to the west was open still. By each other way 
the foraging parties broke in vain about the Puri- 
tan outposts. If they dared ,an attack they found 
a new strength against them. They were as chil- 
dren fighting with men. Cromwell and Fairfax 
had given the fierce Puritan zeal all it needed, the 
strength of discipline and sure command. 

So within Oxford there was desolation. All the 
parasites of wealth were fled, all the ministers of 
gaiety. "The court," said Rupert, "is a damned 
diurnal funeral." Who went there still were the 
King's most affectionate friends and gay as him- 
self. Queen Henrietta was in no case to cheer 
them. Her one desire was to win to a happier town 
than Oxford. The few faded courtiers, the quad- 
rangles where now she saw little but weather-beaten 



2IO COLONEL GREATHEART 

soldiers overthrew her spirits. The very age of 
the place, stern and austere in its gray, crumbling 
walls ('tis my Lord Jermyn's judgment) affected 
her miserably. She was passionate to be gone. My 
Lord Jermyn found her a reason not all unworthy. 
He persuaded her that there was danger in Oxford 
and it was plainly right that her child should be 
born to safety. So Queen Henrietta fled away to 
the west and by her flight quickened fear. If Ox- 
ford itself were not safe, what use to battle more ? 

It was a bitter day of springtime when she was 
borne away. Colonel Stow and Colonel Royston, 
walking in the meadows by Osney, watched the 
scant company. Rupert had spared her a squad- 
ron not his best and she had a company of the 
King's Guard. Her coach was in the midst and she 
huddled in a corner of it and peered out through 
the misty windows with the face of a peevish child. 

Colonel Royston turned away with a shrug. "It's 
she has sense, Jerry." 

"As much as a butterfly." 

"What else should a woman be?" 

"O, you are an infidel, George. Look at Jermyn 
riding by as happy as a wet cat." 

"Happier than we," growled Colonel Royston. 
"He is out of it." 

Colonel Stow linked arms with his friend. "What 
is wrong, George?" said he gently. 

"Zounds, what is right? This fool King is sink- 
ing and we shall be drowned with him." 



THE HOME OF LOST CAUSES 211 

"Bah, we never believe in defeat, George." 

" 'Tis a damned lost cause." 

"And if it were, are we to be afraid to fail? By 
Heaven, we will show the world we know how to 
lose as well as how to win." 

"I am not a play actor," growled Colonel Roy- 
ston. "I do not know how to lose. I have been 
winning all my life till you brought me here to be 
trapped like a rat in a hole, to waste myself that you 
may philander about a wanton." 

Coloned Stow dropped his arm and stood away, 
"Do you know what you have said?" 

"And stand to it, by God," said Colonel Royston, 
and walked on. 

Colonel Stow followed a little way off. His face 
was paled and troubled. . . . "George," he 
said in a low voice, and after a moment Royston 
turned, "if we have asked too much of you, if you 
have given up too much for us — what can a man 
say? — forgive me. We can be friends still?" 

Colonel Royston laughed. "Zounds, I am al- 
ready too much your friend. Ay, and too much 
hers, mordieu." 

"I thank God for it," said Colonel Stow solemnly. 

"Do you so?" said Colonel Royston, and laughed 
again. 

Together, silent, they came back to the town, and 
just beyond the powder mill hit upon Colonel 
Strozzi, who, resplendent still while others had fad- 
ed, inserted himself between them. "You are not 



212 COLONEL GREATHEART 

rejoicing, my braves?" said he, grinning at their 
glum faces. "So. What did I tell you? You 
ought to be traitors. It is more amusing." 

"I might guess it more profitable," said Colonel 
Royston, glancing at his finery. 

Colonel Strozzi laughed. 



CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE 

THE SURPRISE OF LUCINDA 

"OHE is a hungry one," So said Molly of the 
*^ cakeshop, as she watched Lucinda go by. I have 
thought that Molly, who was a person of breadth 
in many ways, may have understood Lucinda bet- 
ter than the men who burned for her. Molly, who 
had a greedy curiosity, knew all her history and 
was not bitter against her. Indeed, fortune mocked 
at Lucinda; had her father lived and the old order 
endured, or had a man won her to the Puritan side, 
she might have had the power that her soul needed. 
But with each turn of fortune she was despoiled 
and she bore it hard. 

Doubtless her life was gray enough. The court 
was dead. Oxford was naked of women. She had 
no gaiety, no friends, no resource but herself. Seek 
other home, she could not. What friends she had 
were harried by the Puritans even as her own 
Manor lay in the Puritan power. She was not born 
for restraint. She raged against the barriers of 
life. Molly, the pastry girl, pronounced her fit for 
a queen and nothing else. Certainly there was 
something of nobility in her, for she could not sit 

213 



214 COLONEL GREATHEART 

down to be content with unhappiness. She set her- 
self to new plans. 

She was well pleased on a day when she saw 
Colonel Stow come to her with a grave face. He 
had long been offensively happy. When he only 
kissed her hand, she pouted. "My dear, 'tis good 
to be with you," says he with a sigh. 

"Faith, 'tis a vice to be content with so little." 

"Nay, this is my greatest joy, dear." 

"Is it?" says Lucinda dolefully. There was a 
full yard between them. 

"What more do I need?" said Colonel Stow. 

Lucinda gave a rueful laugh. "Nothing, it 
would seem," and she looked at him with comical 
despair. 

"And you, dear?" he took her hand delicately. 
Her eyes glowed, her lips called to him. He caught 
her in his arms. 

"Enfin" says Lucinda to his ear. 

"I fear," quoth Colonel Stow, releasing her, "that 
I did not shine." 

"If you had more impudence, sir, you would be 
happier." 

"You also?" 

"O, you improve," she laughed. "There is much 
in good example." 

When she was again breathless, "You see," said 
Colonel Stow, " 'tis dangerous to be kind. And, 
faith, how have I earned it now? For you have 
been cold a long while, dear." 



THE SURPRISE OF LUCINDA 215 

"You were looking unhappy," said Lucinda, and 
he was grave again. She laid her hand on his 
shoulder. "Tell me, then, what is amiss?" 

"I am troubled about George. I brought him 
here and here there is no place for him. He — he 
is in the right to reproach me." 

Lucinda was silent a while. "Indeed, I think we 
are all of the wrong side here." Colonel Stow 
shrugged. She took his hand in both of hers. "Tell 
me truly — do you believe the King can conquer? 
Truly !" and her eyes compelled him. 

"I try to believe — and I doubt," said Colonel 
Stow. 

"Then why — why — why " she was passion- 
ately eager — "why should you stay with him ? What 
bond is there? He has done nothing for you. 
You have served him too well and won nothing. 
And the others — if you go to them in time, you 
should be worth much to them." 

"By Heaven, you can not think what you say!" 
cried Colonel Stow. "What! Break my oath and 
my honor — O, sure, you — you — O, you have not 
seen it clear." 

"I do see clear," she said quietly, "that is why. 
You care no more for one cause than the other. 
You were ready for either when I brought you 
here. Now we know the King as he is — a melan- 
choly fool with no mind nor heart. What hope of 
him? Who can believe in him? Nay, what strength 
has he left? What is there in this dismal town? 



2i6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

'Tis the one chance for us to seek the others betimes 
and win honor of them." 

Colonel Stow had drawn aloof from her and was 
staring in utter amazement. "Desert?" he said 
in a tone she did not know. "You bid me that? 
Desert from a losing cause? By Heaven, it's the 
last infamy." 

"O, I can not endure your Quixotry," she cried. 
"You must be always strutting and posing though 
you bring yourself to ruin and all those that care 
for you." Then suddenly she changed her tone. 
"Nay, you think me hard, but I swear it is for 
you. They have no fit honor for you here. They 
give you no work, no chance. And you could be 
great. Dear, for your honor and mine you must 
seek a better cause." 

It was well done. I protest she believed each 
word, and they were with power for Colonel Stow. 
He bent and kissed her hand. "Dear, forgive me. 
You love me too well, I think. Indeed, in all I do, 
I have no desire but your honor, and 'tis my great 
pride that your honor is mine, too." He kissed her 
hand again, complacent, while she looked down at 
him with a queer smile. "Nay, but there is still 
goodly work for me here. I come to you from 
Prince Rupert, who hath chosen me for a thing I 
like. There is a great convoy of powder and arms 
coming from Bristol and if it fall to the Puritans 
we are sped. All the roads are dangerous now, 
since the Ironside is posted at Abingdon. Rupert 



THE SURPRISE OF LUCINDA 217 

trusts me to ride to Witney and bring it safe." He 
was smiling, pleased as a boy that has won the prize 
at the popinjay. "Faith, it will need some soldier- 
ing. A task very fit for me, sweetheart." 

But Lucinda was grave enough. "If it fall to 
the Puritans — that is the end," she repeated. "Here 
is the fortune of your life, then." 

Colonel Stow laughed. "Why, 'tis a worthy em- 
ploy, dear, no more. But one Is glad to be chosen." 

"O yes, I am glad you are chosen," she said, 
looking at him strangely. 

"Dear, it is good to work for you." 

"You can work for me now." 

"Ay, faith, there shall be laurels for you. O, 
we'll harry the Roundheads yet." 

She drew in her breath, gazing at him, silent, 
intent. "Can you not see?" she said in a low voice. 
"If this convoy means so much, go you to the Puri- 
tans with the tidings and help them take it. What 
will they not do for the man that ends the war ?" 

Colonel Stow started up. "Lucinda ! You ! My 
God, what devil is in you? 'Tis a base, traitorous 
infamy. You have not thought. You can not 
mean it." 

"I mean that a man should fight for himself," 
cried Lucinda. "What have they given, what can 
they give you here? What can you offer me but 
ruin ? I tell you I will not bear it. If you would 
win me, win a fit place for me." 

"Fit place? The place of a mean traitor whom 



2i8 COLONEL GREATHEART 

all men loathe. Would you have me that? Would 
you mate with such a one? In God's name, think 
again. You can not be so mad, so — what words are 
there?" 

"I have thought," said Lucinda calmly. "Have 
I been easy and happy all this while seeing you 
in no honor and our cause falling to dust? Yes, 
I have thought often. If you would have me, you 
must make me a place. There is nothing to be won 
here, nothing, you know it." 

"Madame, there is honor to be won if no honors," 
said Colonel Stow. 

"I am in no mood for your prettiness," Lucinda 
cried. "Look you now. Here is occasion to your 
hand. You may go to the Roundheads with a great 
prize. You can make terms for high fortune there. 
We are so set that the chance can not come again. 
Traitor, you say? Who dares call a man traitor 
if he has power? You can win it if you will. 
Choose!" 

"I would lose you and lose all sooner," said 
Colonel Stow. He was white to the lips. 

Lucinda smiled. "You have done it," she said. 

"No, by Heaven, it can not be!" He knelt on one 
knee beside her and caught her hands and crushed 
them in his. They were cold. "My love, my love, 
you must not fail yourself so, you who are very 
queen of life and strength, you can not yield to 
what's base. Dear, be true! What is fame or 
power if true men despise you ? Who cares if all 



THE SURPRISE OF LUCINDA 219 

fails here? We have our honor still and our love, 
and we are lords of life." 

Lucinda laughed again. "Mad Quixote. Silly, 
mad Quixote," she said. "Good-by." 

Colonel Stow looked at her a long time. His 
lips were trembling and she mocked at him. He 
rose unsteadily and went out like a blind man. 



CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX 

COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 

A /TOLLY, the cake girl, saw a lithe woman 
-'-'^-^ speed by her window to the door of Colonel 
Royston's lodging. "Hey! This is a new busi- 
ness," said she. 

Colonel Royston was killing the hours by carving 
elaborate chessmen (he had always a taste in that 
kind and there is still a set — ^but that is no matter 
here) . Sudden, silent, there stood against his door 
a tall woman in black. He put down his tool gen- 
tly. He was not a man of surprises, nor for all 
his bulk, clumsy. She threw back her hood, her 
cloak. He saw Lucinda, lithe, strong, her vivid lips 
and hair, her eyes fiercely bright. She was all 
black from chin to the ground, save for silver about 
her bosom. 

"You are most appealing," said Colonel Royston 
with a sneer as he rose. 

She looked about the little, dark, wainscoted room. 
"You are quite alone?" she breathed. 

" 'Tis immodest as you could desire," Royston 
sneered. 

"I am beyond all that," said Lucinda quietly. She 
220 



COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 221 

sat by his table, and putting her elbows on it and 
her chin on her hands, looked at him full. "This 
is a matter of your life and mine." 

"They are, I thank God, separate," said Colonel 
Royston. 

Then he saw that mocking smile of hers. "Are 
you afraid?" There was a ripple of mirth in her 
voice. "You know that is a lie." 

"I know you can wake the brute in me," said 
Royston. "If that is like to comfort you, you best 
know." 

She laughed outright. "Do you think I fear 
you? Nay, I love you when you shake off your 
bonds. And you — do I wake nothing but the brute? 
No longing, no joy? Once you had me by your 
heart. Was it sorrow?" 

Colonel Royston looked at her long. "What is 
it you want?" he said gruffly. 

"Life . . . free life and strength and joy." 

Colonel Royston rose and turned from her and 
kicked the dying logs to a blaze. "There is one 
who can give you more than I, madame. My 
friend." 

"I ,am done with him," she cried. 

Colonel Royston muttered something under his 
breath. 

Her laugh rang harsh. "He! He never knew 
me — a popinjay, a play actor, a mad knight errant. 
Now he is pleased to cast me off — ^because he could 
not suffice me — a narrow fool !" 



222 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Has he found you out?" Royston sneered. 

"He — that dull, cold-blooded thing! Nay, I 
have found his weakness. I am done with him." 

Royston laughed too. "O, madame, no one will 
doubt who is in the right of it. I'gad, I pity you 
and give him joy. Whom have you played traitor 
with now?" 

"Do you believe that?" she said with quiet scorn. 
"Am I any man's woman? I'll give nothing for 
who does not give me all. He — he can not. There 
is no power in him." She rose and came to Royston 
and put one hand on his shoulder. "Nay, then, 
look at me if you do not fear." With a quick, im- 
patient movement Royston turned to face her. He 
was flushed and his brow drawn. There was blood 
in her cheeks too. She throbbed and her eyes 
glowed dark with eager life. "Am I fit for scorn," 
she said in a low voice, "am I naught for a man's 
heart? Try me," 

For a long while they stood against each other, 
fierce eyed, wild of heart. Then, with a strange, 
hoarse cry, Royston caught her and crushed her 
helpless and hurt against his breast. He felt her 
move in his grip and her arms closed about him 
passionately. She sought his kiss . . . 

Panting, crimson, she struggled away and held 
him from her at the full length of her arm. "No," 
she gasped. "No, I can not bear it. O, that is life 
indeed." 



COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 223 

Royston gripped her hand. "I have you now. 
You are for me, for me. I'll not spare you." 

Her lips were parted, she trembled a little. Her 
face told pain. Then a smile transformed it and 
her eyes shone. She opened her arms. "I ask no 
mercy," she said. Again she was close against him. 
. . . "We, we are fit mates! You are fierce 
as I. And I give. Ah, do I not?" 

"Give? Yes. Heaven and hell in one. And I 
want all, by God!" 

"Heaven and hell," she repeated and clung to him 
and laughed again. "That is life . . . Nay, 
then, let me go," and she came from him and flung 
the casements open and stood in the rush of the 
clean spring air, arms wide, drinking it greedily 
with swelling bosom. Colonel Royston stood apart 
and watched her, his full, handsome face dark and 
grim. He strode to her and caught her waist in 
his arm. She did not yield; she stood alone, lithe 
and strong, looking through the wind. "Yes. We 
shall make people suffer," she said and laughed. 

"What do we care?" quoth Royston, compelling 
her against him. 

"I am glad," she said, and suddenly turned to 
him. "Power, I want power. You'll take me away 
from here, out of this dull decay?" 

"Zounds, I ask no better," he laughed. "I have 
had no joy here, and we had never come but for 
you, mistress." He took her face in his hand and 



324 COLONEL GREATHEART 

turned it to please himself. "I suppose you want to 
meet Jerry as much as I do," he sneered. 

"I hate him! I despise him!" 

Royston shrugged. "Because he'll despise us?" 

"O, you make an idol of that fool !" she cried pas- 
sionately. "Faith, I'll teach you better. I'll leave 
you no taste for him." 

"I believe that," growled Royston. 

Below stairs they heard Colonel Stow's voice. Lu- 
cinda sprang away, catching wildly at her cloak. 
Royston flung open the door of his bed-chamber and 
signed her in. Then he sat down again and with 
slow care began to carve his chessmen. 

Colonel Stow came in. Royston looked up to 
nod at him carelessly. He appeared lean and har- 
rassed. "You are alone?" Royston waved his tool 
to the empty room. "They said you had a lady 
with you." 

"O, bah, a woman of naught," said Royston with 
vigor. "And she will not trouble you. She is 
gone." 

Colonel Stow sat down heavily and was as if his 
strength had gone out of him. He became con- 
scious of some contempt in Royston's stare. "Do I 
look a weakling, George? I know. I am ashamed 
that it hurts me so. By Heaven, I am a coward." 
He shivered and contrived to affect a joyless smile. 
"Yes, you don't sec the best of me, George. I can 
not hide from you. I — I shall go on. But I am 
afraid. I have nothing in life to trust." 



COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 225 

Royston gave a, crooked smile. "Not even me," 
he said. 

Colonel Stow reached for his hand, but the grav- 
ing tool was in it and Royston laughed. "You. Yes, 
you have given up enough for me." 

"O, lud, do not be grateful," Royston cried. 
"Well, I judge from your cryptic lamentations ma- 
dame is unkind?" 

"That is finished." 

"I give you joy. She never deserved you." 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "Is that comfort? . . . 
Well ... I must needs tell you . . . It is 
over . . . She . . . she is base." 

"Good lack, does that surprise you?" Royston 
gave a harsh laugh. 

"I would to God it had been I !" Colonel Stow 
cried. "If I had played traitor, little matter. But 

she, she that was the heart of my life " He 

turned away to hide his face and Royston heard 
him groan. "Bah, I am a fool to come whining so, 
but it is an ease to speak to you, George." 

Colonel Royston was not gentle. "You were a 
fool with her," he said. "She understood you as I 
do a virgin saint. She cared as much for your kind 
of love as I do for religion. And you must be mak- 
ing an angel of her who was just a wild woman. 
Lud, I have been waiting for the tragedy." 

Colonel Stow thrust back his hair. "O, I have 
been a dreamer. I know . . . and still, by 
Heaven, I am glad of the dream . . . Well, 



226 COLONEL GREATHEART 

'tis done . . . George, she bade me play traitor. 
And now, when we are come to the turn of the 
fight." 

"The better pay for treason," Royston shrugged. 

"The more damnable shame," said Colonel Stow 
sharply. He looked long at his friend. "George, I 
do not know, but — but I have thought that you 
had a kindness for her. If 'tis not so, well. And 
I know you have had ill luck here. She might 
seek — well, you'll not let her work on you? She 
has a devilish art to kindle a man." 

Royston laughed. "Ha, now we come to It I 
am warned to be righteous, am I ? I would not 
take it from any man alive. As for your woman, 
I know her well enough for what she is, wild 
life without honor or shame. She is naught to me 
and shall be so, I swear." He laughed with more 
vigor than Colonel Stow understood. "And for 
myself, I'll have my own will, and go my own way, 
in spite of every woman out of hell. Bah, what 
have I to do with loyalty? I am loyal to who pays 
me. That's the creed for a gentleman of the sword. 
It was yours once and is still mine. I have pledged 
no faith here. I have no trust to answer. If it 
serves my turn to stay, I'll stay. If it suits me best 
to be Puritan, I'll go. And who is in the right to 
reproach me? What have they done to keep me 
here? Zounds, I will be schooled by no man." 

Colonel Stow rested his head on his hand. "I 



COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 227 

have asked enough of you, I know. I have brought 
you to an ill cause. You'll forgive me, George?" 

"O, lud, have done with that. I have no blame 
for you. Have none for me. Let us go our own 
ways." 

Colonel Stow looked up quickly. "We are friends 
still?" 

"If you can be," said Royston with a sneer. "But 
I have my own life to live." 

"I know," said Colonel Stow sadly. "I know." 
And again he looked long silent at his friend. "Well 
. . . we go on . . . Do you feel blind, 
George ?" 

Royston did not answer. He let Colonel Stow 
take his hand and grip it as he went out. 

The door clanged, his spurs clanked over the 
stones and Lucinda started out of hiding. "Faith, 
sir, you had fair words for me," she cried. "You 
forget that I heard all." 

"I meant you to," said Colonel Royston. 

"You mock me, then?" 

"He mocked you when he thought you an angel," 
Colonel Royston gave an ugly laugh. "O, you 
shall not cheat yourself nor me. We have done 
with honor now. We stand for ourselves. We are 
greedy for all the pride of life. But, i' God's name, 
let us have no sham of virtue to ourselves. It makes 
me sick." 

She came to him, peering close at him in the 



22« COLONEL GREATHEART 

gloom while her fingers twisted in his sash. He 
was sneering. "Yes, you are strong," she said. 

"The worse for us both. Well, we must be gone 
out of this place. When can you be ready?" 

She laughed. "Ah, you are afraid to face Colonel 
Stow again." 

"Yes." Royston frowned at her. "I am, by 
God. You have ruined us two. It was you that 
brought us to this cursed cause. You have broken 
his life. You have dragged us apart. I shall not 
forget. And I think you will pay for all with me." 

He saw that strange, mocking smile of hers. 
"Let us try," she said and put her hands in his. 
They were crushed till she bit her lips for the pain. 
She came nearer still, and her breast touched his 
. . . They were lost . . . 

"When will you come with me?" said Royston 
hoarsely. "When can you be gone?" 

"Yes, yes, I will go when you will," she gasped. 
"Now — ^to-night, if it please you. Nay, but enough 
now. Let me go." 

She sank to a chair and tried to compose herself. 
In a moment she was gay with bubbling laughter. 
"Do you know why we quarreled? He had some 
tale of a mighty great convoy that is coming from 
Bristol. If it falls to the Puritans, says he, we are 
all undone. Why, then, take the tidings to the Puri- 
tans, quoth I, give them the last victory and make 
your profit of it. Then monsieur was all of a flame, 



COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 229 

like a fool in a tragedy. Is't not delicate? For 
now we can have our advantage of it. Do you bear 
the news to Cromwell and make your fortune." 

"I will go bail the devil is a woman," said Roy- 
ston, glowering down at her. 

She gave back his own words with a laugh, "O, 
we have done with honor now." 

But Royston was in a difficulty you would not 
expect her to understand. Out of battle, your gen- 
tleman of the sword might change sides when he 
chose, but he must not bear the plans of one to 
the other. That was bred in Colonel Royston with 
his profession, but not in Lucinda. For him who 
had broken faith with his friend to let the etiquette 
of the mercenary stay him from a profitable treason 
was plainly ridiculous. She gazed at him in won- 
dering contempt. Even he, then, had some of the 
stupid scruples of Colonel Stow. She despised all 
men for creatures chained in convention. . . . 
But Colonel Royston was not in a mood to hesitate 
long. To possess her he had cast away already the 
best thing he had. The rest went light. . . . 
Swiftly he saw his account in her tale — how to make 
it sound fairly to the Puritans and give him foot- 
ing there. "Well, what more do you know, ma- 
dame spy?" quoth he with a grim smile. "When 
does your precious convoy come? Who has it in 
command?" 

"It is close here now, I think. They are to 
send out some force to escort it in." 



230 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Ay, that will be to Witney," said Royston to 
himself. "And who is in command?" 

Lucinda had the wit to lie. She could feel that 
if he were told the truth then, if he knew the con- 
voy were trusted to Colonel Stow, he would have 
none of the treason. He was not ready yet to hurt 
the fame of his friend. A word of the truth then 
had changed the fortune of more lives than theirs. 
But she lied easily. "Nay, I do not know that. He 
did not tell me." 

"Two regiments, may be," said Colonel Royston 
to himself and walked to the window. "They will 
not go beyond Witney. It would be neater to snatch 
the convoy first." He faced round on her. "When 
[do they come?" 

. "At once. To-morrow, I think," she said hastily. 
She did not know him in this mood. The keen 
note of command troubled her, made her unsure. 

"So. We must be gone to-night. You must 
leave your fine dresses behind. You can take no 
more than you brought. Be ready for me in two 
hours. I will have a horse for you." 

"O, you are too masterful, sir." 

"I'll be that with you or nothing," growled Roy- 
ston, frowning at her . . . "and, by Heaven, I 
do not much care which." 

She gave a reckless laugh. "I swear that you 
shall," she said and put up her lips to be kissed. 

A little while before, Colonel Stow, turning in 
under Tom Tower, was saluted by the officer of 



COLONEL STOW WARNS HIS FRIEND 231 

the King's Guard. While he answered he saw that 
it was Gilbert Bourne. With a queer laugh he 
turned aside to grip the lad's hand. "You were 
the luckier," he said and went on his way. 



CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN 

THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL FINDS AN HONEST MAN 

** I ^ HROUGH the windy dark, Lucinda rode with 
•*• Royston and thought of a night when she was 
borne in another man's arms. It was springtime 
again and the wild thrill of it in the air, but Colonel 
Royston was not inspired. He had not the dreams 
of his friend nor the longing to give Lucinda a 
new life. She sufficed to him what she was. And 
he put her by. His mind was devoted to the prac- 
tical need of the instant, to the neat detour that 
brought them out of Oxford unseen, unsuspected, by 
the north road and round the fords at Godstow and 
Witham to Cumnor, safe on the Abingdon road. It 
was a perfect evasion. Then, with the methodical 
carefulness that distinguished him, he made up his 
story for Cromwell. Of the life beyond, of the 
woman's call, he had no care. It may be that his 
mind shrank from it But Lucinda remembered 
the earlier time. 

It was a dark gray sky, broken in gulfs of blue 
that bore the stars. They gave light enough to 
make all things vague. Royston rode beside her 
like a creature of dream ; the hedge-rows stood vast 

232 



AN HONEST MAN 233 

and fantastic; the very road played tricks with her 
eyes, turned when it went straight, was rough when 
it was smooth. More than once, fancying she saw a 
brook or a quag, she reined up sharp. "Zounds, what 
ails you?" cried Royston at last, startled from his 
plans. 

"This road is mad, I think, or my eyes." Then, 
with a nervous laugh, "We are mad, you know." 

"And we will ride on, by God," said Royston. 

The west wind came across them, tingling and 
keen. On either side the trees were loud in a wild 
chorus and changing color and shape for each mo- 
ment. Feathery, powdered catkins brushed across 
their faces and now a light bough beaten down 
stung like a whip as they passed. All the night was 
full of ghostly fear and tumult and strife. When 
they came down the slope to the wide, dark river 
levels the uncurbed wind smote stronger, whistling 
shrill about them and buffeting with mighty thrusts. 
She cowered before it and shrank into her hood and 
shivered. All along the way the pollard willows 
tossed in mad shapes like ghastly dwarfs adance. 
Her mind was away in strange, ill dreams. She 
felt herself caught in some grim mockery of life, 
where nothing was real and nothing made glad. 
And still she was pierced with memories of that 
earlier time, of that wild night of joy when he had 
made her feel the very spirit of the world's force. 
. . . She looked uneasily at Royston. But he 
had no care for her. He rode erect, staring right 



234 COLONEL GREATHEART 

on, his mind knit upon his own plans, . . . 
And the wind yelled at her and the clouds banked 
thicker before it and the stars went out. 

She was mightily weary and cold before, out of a 
heavier mass of darkness, tiny lights mocked at 
them. In a moment after came the challenge of 
the outposts at Abingdon. 

"Who goes? Who goes? Halt or I fire." 

"Travelers to lie at Abingdon," quoth Colonel 
Royston. 

"Whence come ye?" 

"From Oxford." 

"Guard! Turn out, guard!" 

Royston turned to Lucinda with a sneering smile. 
"They are naiVe here. No place for you." But 
Colonel Royston himself never understood the Puri- 
tan simplicity. If he had he had made another 
end. 

A sergeant came with his lantern and held it 
aloft to scan them. "Ye are out of Oxford?" 

"Ay." 

"Why seek ye this godly army?" 

"Sir, for edification." 

"The Lord advance it! But wherefore in the 
company of a woman?" 

"Regard me as her redeemer. In fine, sir, I have 
been her salvation. She hath put me in the godly 
mind to seek you out." 

"I like you not, young man. Nevertheless, ye 
may be even as Lot which fled out of Sodom. Pur- 



AN HONEST MAN 235 

sue not his evil example. And in any case you 
will go before the lieutenant general." 

"It is my earnest desire," said Royston. "Hav- 
ing first found a lodging for the lady, who is all 
aweary." He preferred to deal with Cromwell 
alone. 

"The lieutenant general desires no women," quoth 
the sergeant with scorn. "March !" 

"Happy man !" quoth Royston. As he walked 
his horse forward the sergeant took the bridle and 
so with a pikeman on either hand and Lucinda fol- 
lowing meekly, they came to Abingdon. The nar- 
row street was all peaceful. There was no sign 
of soldiery, no rabble, no loungers. Only through 
the lighted windows they could see the gathering 
of companies and they heard chanting and the elect 
whine of Puritan prayer. 

"And what of a lodging?" quoth Royston. "I 
suppose all your inns are full to the door of god- 
liness?" 

"No man of this army lies in a tavern who can 
find him another bed," said the sergeant severely. 

Royston whistled. But he had met fanatics be- 
fore and knew their strength. The sergeant was 
no boaster. It proved easy to find Lucinda lodging 
at the Green Man Inn. Royston was led on to the 
house called the Abbey by the river. 

It was a room of bare brick walls set with timber 
and high, dim, timbered roof. The candles flick- 
ered and guttered in the crossing drafts. Colonel 



336 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Royston stopped short and saluted. He was not 
used to admire other men. But, "this is the first 
King I have seen in England," said he to himself. 

It was no beauty, at least. A big, loose man 
that spread over his chair ; the wisp of linen at the 
collar of his buff coat was crumpled and stained 
with blood; his face was coarse, fleshy and red, but 
the hard angles of the bones stood out and in the 
midst a mighty ridge, a stockade of a nose; there 
was something that might have been desire for 
moustachios or lack of a razor; his under lip was 
cracked and raw; his hair hung in a lank mass of 
pale brown. But there was height in the ample 
brow and the seaming furrows of endurance and 
thought. But his eyes had the true light of steel 
and a ruthless strength. 

The lieutenant general surveyed Colonel Roy- 
ston, who liked it well enough. He never doubted 
his own powers. "Who art thou, friend?" 

"George Royston, sometime major in the service 
of Gustav Adolf and colonel with the Duke of 
Weimar." 

"What make you here?" 

"Safety for a woman, work for myself." 

A man who had been writing at Cromwell's el- 
bow looked up at the neat phrase. This was one 
with an air of some refinement, trim and precise, 
the commissary general, Ireton. "You come from 
Oxford?" said he amiably. 

"A plain tale can be brief, sir. I came to Eng- 



AN HONEST MAN 237 

land on a quarrel with M. de Turenne. I am bred 
to war and born for it, but little skilled in the mat- 
ter of politic. I chose the King, because the King's 
cause should be England's." He laughed. "That 
fancy amuses me now, gentlemen. I have been in 
Oxford. Yes, I have been in Oxford and seen the 
Popish lasciviousness of that court and the rule of 
fools. I found swiftly that it was no place for a 
soldier who honored himself and feared God. I 
made my resolve to seek the honest cause — ^yours, 
sir." He saluted stiffly. "I'll confess I was hast- 
ened at the last by the persecution of an honorable 
lady. It was a maid brought to that Babylon by 
her mother, my Lady Weston. She dying, left the 
girl friendless. She was thereafter pursued by the 
lordlings of that vile court most shamefully — 
bah, I am hot at speaking of it. Well. She could 
get there no succor nor redress. Then I — for I pro- 
fess an honest affection for her — bade her come with 
me to a camp where men regard the honor of wom- 
en. The which she hath done. I have lodged her 
here and am here to serve you. I can do it." 

"You say well, friend," quoth Cromwell. 

The commissary general, who was tapping his 
cheek with a quill, smiled pleasantly. "And how 
would you seek to serve?" said he. 

"Sir, I have fought against Papists fifteen years 
and held many commands, whereof you shall have 
proof at your leisure. My skill is in chief with 
musket and pike, but for that, time enough. There 



238 COLONEL GREATHEART 

is more pressing matter. Sir, ere I left Oxford to- 
day there came to me by a braggart captain in 
liquor, tidings of that which touches your fortune. 
I take no shame to tell you. I have no faith to 
keep with that foul court. So then. They are in ill 
straits for arms and powder. Their whole hope in 
the war depends on a new great convoy. This 
comes from Bristol and hath now been days upon 
the road. It journeys with little guard, but they 
will send out from Oxford a force to meet it — and, 
sir, it should come to Burford or Witney by to- 
morrow. But if it fall to you and not to them you 
have gone far to end the war." 

The frown gathered on Cromwell's brow. He 
began with a score of sharp questions. How great 
was this convoy? with what force? at what speed 
could it move? and the like. To all Royston had a 
quick answer, true or false. Cromwell looked on 
him with favor. "Thou art a ready man, friend. 
The Lord needs such." 

"Therefore, doubtless, He made me so," said 
Colonel Royston devoutly. 

"O, sir, hold fast to that !" Cromwell cried. "Thou 
art made unto His glory and miserably dost thou 
fail it. Yet be of good heart and so run that thou 
mayest obtain." 

"It is ever my design, sir," said Colonel Royston 
quite sincerely. 

Cromwell thrust out his arms over his head. "O, 
laggards, laggards ! The Lord deliver me from 



AN HONEST MAN 239 

laggards! Sir, there is naught to be feared but 
our own sin and sloth." 

"Wherein, alas, we are too well provided," said 
Royston. 

Cromwell's hands fell. His face was grave and 
sad. "You say well," he muttered, and appeared to 
talk to himself. 

The commissary general had remained always 
amiable of air. "And do I hear you promise the 
capture of this convoy?" he asked. 

"Spare a regiment of horse in the morning, let me 
be its guide and I'll answer for all." 

"It is very handsome in you," the commissary 
murmured and glanced from him to Cromwell. 
"The gentleman desires to be trusted with a regi- 
ment, sir." 

"The Lord, the Lord shall laugh at him," mut- 
tered Cromwell. "What is't? A regiment, quotha?" 
He bent his brows upon Royston. "Well. And how 
wouldst thou go with it, friend?" 

Colonel Royston was ready. A swift detour by 
Newbridge should bring them astride the western 
road on the farther side of Witney. Then, putting 
out a picket to guard them from Oxford, they would 
send vedettes out westward to make touch with the 
convoy, find it, capture it and strike for Abingdon 
again. 

"It likes me well," said Cromwell. 

"Colonel Budd's horse, sir?" quoth the commis- 
sary quickly. 



240 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"A very lovely company. Sir, put all on God." 

"I will make my endeavor, sir," said Royston and 
saluted, and was going. 

"We will provide you a billet, sir," said the com- 
missary again in some haste. 

Colonel Royston saluted him, too, and was dis- 
missed in the charge of a sergeant. 

"There is a soul in an honest, thriving way," 
quoth Cromwell. 

"I should have liked him better," said the com- 
missary, "if he had offered us nothing." 



CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT 

AT WITNEY TOWN 

COLONEL ROYSTON was waked from his bed 
of clean hay at dawn, but he did not .arrive in 
the quarters of Colonel Jacob Budd in time to hear 
a conversation of the commissary. "The orders are 
plain to you, Colonel?" 

"Plain, sir. May I be God's executioner! And 
if it be not so ; if this one that guides me prove an 
hireling, a man of Belial " 

"Why, you may still be God's executioner," said 
the commissary, smiling. ^ 

Colonel Budd almost laughed. In a little while 
came Colonel Royston. The commissary saluted 
him affably. "Colonel Budd, this is Colonel George 
Royston, who hath designed this fair work. I would 
have you know him well." 

"The honor is mine," said Colonel Royston. 

Colonel Budd did not deny it. 

"The lieutenant general bids you to breakfast," 
said the commissary. 

Colonel Royston appreciated the honor, but his 
appetite was something affected by the lieutenant 
general taking occasion to expound the second 

241 



242 COLONEL GREATHEART 

beast of the apocalypse. Colonel Budd differed 
from his general concerning the significance of the 
first horn, said so and they parted hot. 

"Well, sir, well, shall we ride?" said Royston 
eagerly, as they came out together. 

"After some small exercise," said Colonel Budd. 

Colonel Budd paraded his regiment in the mead- 
ows by the Ock and there wrestled in prayer for the 
space of half an hour, the troopers groaning or giv- 
ing praise as they were moved. Colonel Royston 
chiefly groaned. But he confessed that in the end 
they wheeled beautifully into column of troop. They 
took the road for Kingston Bagpuize chanting, not 
sweetly — 

O, Lord God, unto Whom alone all vengeance doth 
belong; 

O, mighty God, Who vengeance own'st, shine forth, 
avenging wrong; 

Lift up Thyself, Thou of the earth the sovereign 
Judge that art. 

And unto them that are so proud a due reward im- 
part 

They had certainly a vile ear for music, but it 
annoyed Colonel Royston that he could find no 
other fault with them. They were men of seasoned 
strength, and their bearing approved them soldierly. 
They were equipped to admiration, with breasts and 
backs of steel over their buff coats, pot helmets, a 



AT WITNEY TOWN 243 

pair of long pistols each and a sword. There was 
hardly a worthless charger in the regiment. Sturdy 
beasts, plainly bred in the fen levels, there could be 
no better for a campaign in the valleys and heavy 
turf hills of middle England. Not the guard of 
Gustavus was better provided. Colonel Royston 
thought with a sneer of the ragged squadrons of 
King Charles. So they rode on, a goodly sight, a 
long trail of steel, between the whitening willows of 
the flat grass lands, while the wayward sunlight 
flashed on their arms and made splendor in the thin 
cloud of dust. 

In a space between psalms Colonel Jacob Budd 
engaged Colonel Royston's attention. "Thou art 
surely a brand snatched from the burning, my good 
friend?" 

"It was I did the snatching." 

Colonel Budd groaned. "I perceive thou art yet 
far from the truth and in the bondage of Arminius !" 

"I do not know him." 

"'Tis a minister of Beelzebub." 

Colonel Royston shook his head. "I can not give 
you joy of your acquaintance." 

"Which taught the abominable heresy that who- 
soever will, may be saved. Whereas, friend, where- 
as (as I shall look to expound to you more gener- 
ously), the sweet truth is, there be some elected to 
damnation, which they can by no means escape. And 
this shall be a goodly comfort, for it is all to the 
glory of God." 



244 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Royston grunted. Never a man had less 
taste for theology than he. 

"And look you, if thou dost think (poor worm!) 
that thou hast saved thyself, thou art still in the 
blindness of sin. No man saveth himself, seeing 
that all are worms. Yet some in the all-seeing 
providence of God are elected to salvation and by 
no strength nor good works of their own are saved. 
Whereof they have a sweet and blessed assurance. 
There is also another assurance, the assurance of 
damnation, which I would give you." 

"I'gad," cried Royston. "I have a very certain 
assurance of damnation if we go across the river 
with no vedettes out." 

Colonel Budd scowled at him. It was the more 
objectionable in that it could not be denied. They 
were already close upon the river and beyond lay 
the enemy's country. He gave hoarse orders (Roy- 
ston marked with disdain the use of the stiff Dutch 
drill for the simpler Swedish) and the column of 
route was protected with double vedettes and an 
advance guard before they came to Newbridge. 

Swollen with the spring rains, the two rivers came 
turbid and swift and crashed against each other in 
a whirlpool of foam and roared through the narrow 
stone arches. On the bridge the regiment halted 
while the vedettes thrust forward under the trees 
up the diverging tracks. There was no danger, and 
at the old pace, but fallen silent, they took the road 
to Witney. Soon there were no more trees. They 



AT WITNEY TOWN 245 

rode over a dead level of flat land where the fur- 
rows already were richly green. Laborers straight- 
ened themselves and leaned on their hoes, gazing 
stolidly while the regiment passed and stolidly fell 
to work again. It was not a war of the people. 
They cared little for its moves or its fortune, and 
to make a show, soldiers were stale. So through 
Standlake and Brighthampton, where the women 
laughed and waved kerchiefs while stern Puri- 
tan troopers found ill names for them, they made on 
toward the circling hills. 

Something after noon they struck the road to the 
west upon the high ground beyond Witney and 
straightway sent back a party to watch for any force 
from Oxford. The main body of the regiment 
moved westward at leisure while an advance guard 
sped far in front. But the advance guard came 
nearly into Burford and found nothing and the 
main body halted on the hill above Asthall and 
made a meal of biscuit and cheese from the knap- 
sacks. Colonel Royston went forward. It was draw- 
ing towards twilight when he came back in a hurry 
with most of the guard clattering about him. "They 
are drawn close to Burford, sir," he cried, reining 
up. "A quarter-mile of them, as I judge, wains and 
pack horses, and no guard at all." 

"Praise the Lord which hath delivered them into 
our hands," quoth Colonel Budd. 

"Let's hatch our chickens before we count 'em," 
said Royston, whose wisdom was of another color. 



246 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Give me leave, sir; if we wait them there in the 
hollow between the two hills we shall be well hidden 
and they well caught," 

"What, sir, will you teach me?" cried Colonel 
Budd. 

"Nay, sir, I could not," said Royston smoothly. 
"None the less, will you move, sir? Will you move?" 

Colonel Budd snorted with wrath. But the plan 
was so plainly best that he could not refuse it. In 
a moment the regiment was dropping out of sight 
down the hill. Once in the hollow the half of them 
were dismounted and lay down in the ditches. A 
squadron hid itself craftily in the hollows of the 
slope of either hill. The rest, with the led horses, 
made toward the river and were lost. 

It was already dusk. The hapless convoy came 
on innocently. The locked wheels of the wains 
groaned down the hill while the wagoners cursed 
their lurching horses that could not hold back 
enough on the loose road. There was no more guard 
than some score mounted men, riding by twos and 
threes, gossiping together. 

The first of the wagons were down on the level 
and halted for unshackling their wheels. The whole 
train stayed perforce. Then from the ditch rose 
Colonel Budd and shouted. His dismounted men 
dashed upon the convoy and the red flame of pow- 
der broke the gloom. On either hill side the mount- 
ed squadrons swept the road and before and behind 
escape was barred, even if the laden wagons could 



AT WITNEY TOWN 247 

have made up hill at speed. It was a trap that might 
have held a fiercer prey. The convoy was in hope- 
less straits. Its few mounted men were pistoled 
speedily and the Puritans fell on the wretched wag- 
oners, who had no arms. 

"Quarter, sir," cried Colonel Royston with an 
oath, "bid them give quarter." 

"The curse of Saul be upon thee," cried Colonel 
Budd, and thundered to his men : "Smite, and 
spare not! Smite, and spare not!" He turned to 
Royston again. "Verily, the wrath of the Lord is 
kindled against thee, for His pleasure is in the blood 
of His enemies." 

Colonel Royston turned away with a gesture of 
disgust and made for his horse. He loved war too 
well to like an idle butchery. 

But the Puritan troopers had a holy lust for their 
work. The wretched wagoners ran hither and 
thither in a ghastly fear, struck blindly with naked 
hands at men who kept them off with steel, knelt, 
shrieking piteously like children for mercy. There 
was none. They hid beneath the wagons and in the 
ditches and the Puritan troopers dragged them out 
and slew. The hollows were carpeted with death 
and blood. 

So much time they wasted on this godly work 
that it was full dark before they started the con- 
voy to moving again and climbed away from the 
horror. 

Colonel Budd came up beside Royston and 



248 COLONEL GREATHEART 

touched his arm. "Friend, I fear me thou art an 
Amalekite at heart" 

"Friend," said Colonel Royston, who was in no 
good temper, "I see well thou art no soldier." 

"How now?" cried the Puritan. "What naughty 
frowardness is this? Be assured I am a man set in 
authority and — " 

"And not fit for it, i'gad," cried Royston. "But 
for this silly butchery we might have been four 
miles away. We move at a foot's pace with all this 
gear and each hour this side the river is dangerous." 

The Puritan laughed. "I perceive you have no 
courage, friend." 

"Not a whit under your command. 'Tis an 111 
fight when a fool is colonel." 

"You shall answer that, sir," cried Colonel Budd. 
"You shall answer it to the lieutenant general." 

"I will make good each word if we ever get to 
him." 

"O fool and faint-hearted! Verily, I can scarce 
be angry with thee, thou art a babe for fear. What 
haste is there? We will cross by the ford at Bab- 
lockhithe and be at Abingdon by midnight" 

"Bablockhithe?" Royston gasped in most honest 
amazement. "Bablockhithe?" 

"Well, sirrah, and is't not the shortest way?" 

"I'gad, the longest way round is here the shortest 
way home. It's tempting Providence to venture 
near Oxford." 

"The Lord, sir, will take care of His own." 



AT WITNEY TOWN 249 

"That is why I tremble for us. Nay, sir, if you 
would not lose all, go round by Newbridge as we 
came." 

Colonel Budd was plainly amused. "Verily, thou 
art matter of mirth with thy host of fears. What 
have we to dread from Oxford? We have kept 
watch all day and there is nothing moving thence." 

"The devil himself may be moving now. They 
expect this convoy and some guard must come for it. 
Look you, sir, if you do your duty you will consult 
for safety and go round by Newbridge." 

"Do you think to school me?" cried Colonel 
Budd. "What! Would you be my master? Be as- 
sured, sir, I am set in authority and thou shalt not 
minish it." 

Colonel Royston shrugged. "Go to the devil your 
own way. Remember, I told you where you were 
going." 

Colonel Budd preached him a sermon concerning 
original sin and the effectual calling of the elect. 



CHAPTER TWENT\^NINE 

AT BABLOCKHITHE 

OOMETHING belongs to Master Thomas White, 
^^ rector of Witney, though while he lived the 
good man was careful not to claim it. He was the 
friend of all men, even Anabaptists, but would 
rather not have been. His private affections bound 
him to church and King, but he concealed them 
carefully and lived and died in prosperity. None 
the less, he did his affections a good turn when he 
safely could and his chance came on this evening of 
spring. It was the rector's custom to get an appetite 
for supper by a walk from the rectory past the But- 
ter Cross to the bridge, whereby he saw how the 
bulk of his parish was behaving and could also gos- 
sip with it. 

On this night he was with Master Goundrey, a 
cloth worker, debating the effect of the war on the 
price of wool, when they heard the rumble of the 
Puritans and their convoy. The rector and Master 
Goundrey drew down toward the bridge with many 
another, expecting to see the King's colors. They 
were altogether surprised. Puritans from the west- 
ward, a Puritan convoy through Witney — the whole 

250 



AT BABLOCKHITHE 251 

affair was amazing. They gaped at the long caval- 
cade rolling slowly over the bridge and the Puritan 
troopers bade them be gone to their beds. But the 
rector was gone. 

I conceive him less benign and more capable than 
he was supposed. He made off to the rectory, sad- 
dled his cob and saying that he was away to visit a 
sick soul at Cogges, was soon upon the track of the 
Puritans. It was easy to catch them, for the wagons 
could make no more than a walk. He saw them 
turn off by Newland for Stanton Harcourt and Bab- 
lockhithe, then followed them no longer, but made a 
straight road for Oxford. He guessed right. There 
were Royalists riding out to meet that convoy. In 
the middle of Eynsham village, in the square by the 
old market-house, he tumbled into them. 

Colonel Stow, being advised that the convoy was 
ordered not to make Witney till midnight, had left 
Oxford at sundown and was well in advance of his 
time. They brought him the rector, panting on a 
blown steed, peering at him out of the dark with 
eyes swelling white. "For the King?" gasped the 
rector. 

"Without doubt." 

"Praise God," quoth the rector, and collected his 
scattered wits. 

"If you will give me a reason," said Colonel 
Stow, his hand on his moustachio, considering this 
strange person. 

"Do you come for a long convoy from the west?" 



252 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"And have tnerefore scant time for you, sir." 

"Alack, sir, you are all out of time. 'Tis taken al- 
ready by the Roundheads." 

"The devil!" 

"Yes, sir," said the rector heartily. "And they 
are gone with it to Stanton Harcourt and Bablock- 
hithe." 

Colonel Stow was hard on his moustachio and 
frowning. It was difficult to conceive that the 
Roundheads had known so precisely when to come 
and where. "Who are you, sir?" he said sharply. 

"Sir, I am the rector of Witney, who " a 

smile covered his red face, "who live at peace with 
all men and serve my King quietly, sir, quietly." 

Colonel Stow considered him still some moments. 
"You would advise me to believe you?" 

The rector laughed out : "Sir, you say well. You 
say very well. I am no honest man. But when I 
come stealthy believe me. Doubt me when I am 
open. Believe me when I am some one's enemy. 
Doubt me when I am every man's friend." But 
Colonel Stow had already made up his mind to be- 
lieve, and the orders ran from troop to troop that 
turned the regiment away to Bablockhithe. They 
were off at a canter by a level bare road. 

The rector, unbidden, stayed at Colonel Stow's 
side and Colonel Stow, noting it, had no more doubt. 
But his mind was exercised to g^ess how the Round- 
heads had known so well the hour to strike. There 
was nothing for him to do but make good speed. He 



AT BABLOCKHITHE 253 

cast vedettes far out in front, and they made it, 
breaking to a gallop again and again, thundering 
on through the desert dark. Close on the first scat- 
tered houses of Stanton Harcourt he checked the 
pace and let his advance guard draw farther and 
farther away and flung out a picket up the Witney 
road. Then since the Roundheads could not there 
be found he feared they were in advance of him, 
and he hurried on again by the narrower, three- 
shadowed road through the river meadows. His 
first scouts had come fairly to the ford when a man 
thundered up from the rear to tell that the Round- 
heads were found. Colonel Stow laughed. "Faith, 
I am obliged to these gentlemen. They g^ve me 
some exercise whereof my spirits are in need. It 
were a tame march but for their kindness," and he 
began to make his dispositions. 

It was a heavy night, with few stars breaking the 
dark. Over the river and the dank grass lay a thin 
cloud of mist. The track to the ford was marked by 
trees that rose to a vast height in the vag^e gloom. 
Else all was plain level. Colonel Stow sent a party 
upstream to the weir. He held two squadrons close 
by the ford and set the rest a furlong back. Then 
they waited, shrouded in the mist, hearing nothing 
but the roar of the weir. 

In a while came the convoy, most orderly. Half 
Colonel Budd's regiment marched in the van, half 
kept the rear. It was the orthodox array and 
Colonel Stow, with his experienced ear cocked for 



254 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the sound of their march, had not need to peer at 
them to know they used it. He had no more anxie- 
ties. He could trust his regiment to wait. The good 
Puritans came on innocently. The squadrons in 
front took the ford and were well in, the first files 
almost upon the farther bank, when Colonel Stow 
fired a pistol. His regiment waked with a roar. 
Two squadrons drove at the ford and cut off the 
troopers crossing from the convoy. The rest were 
hurled at the rear guard and, crashing at speed on 
the flank of men unaware, overthrew them utterly 
and rode them down and slew. The night was 
aflame and loud with pistol shots, but it was scarce 
a fight, for the Puritans were shattered beyond hope 
in the first sudden onset. The most of them were 
out of their saddles at the shock and never mounted 
again. Only the first squadrons, uncharged, un- 
broken, turned in the ford and set themselves stub- 
bornly to recover the fight, but while they bore on 
gallantly against the beating storm of shot that only 
their first files could answer, sudden there was a 
shout from the weir and the water grew swift about 
them and the horses lost footing and were borne 
away. 

There was no more hope for them. Colonel Stow 
kept one squadron on the river bank some while, but 
it had no more to do than capture a few damp Puri- 
tans that struggled to shore mighty miserable. Each 
man of Colonel Stow's had his work and set about it. 
The first of the fight was hardly over before the 



AT BABLOCKHITHE 255 

weary wagon teams were strengthened with cap- 
tured chargers and the convoy, wheeling into the 
meadows for room, was turned about and driven on 
to Eynsham and Oxford. Colonel Stow's men 
might have no faith, but they had learned their 
trade. 

The rector of Witney had stayed close by Colonel 
Stow and emitted some uncanonical chuckles during 
the fight "That's a Roland for old Noll. He that 
roUeth a stone, it shall return upon him," said he. 
"Good night to you." 

"Nay, faith, sir; ride back to Oxford and let us 
thank you." 

"Who, I?" The rector tapped his nose. 
"Look 'e, I have to my parish a score of wild Ana- 
baptists and a fair regiment of whoreson independ- 
ents who are my sweet friends, and, by your leave, 
their friend I'll stay. For times go hard. Forget 
you have seen me. Disremember my name. The 
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, and 
I'll sow none if I can help it. There are too many." 
He vanished into the night and died in the odor of 
sanctity and his rectory ten years after. 

Colonel Budd, swept away by the rush of the 
deepening water, reached the farther bank a hun- 
dred yards down stream. Riding back hastily, he 
peered across the fo,aming water and saw by the 
light of the pistol flashes that his regiment was all 
undone. There was nothing left but those strug- 
gling desperately with the wild stream and the Roy- 



256 COLONEL GREATHEART 

alist fire, and for them little hope. Colonel Budd 
yelled wildly for a trumpeter and when one came at 
last bade him sound the rally. The troopers heard 
and made for safety as they could. But it was no 
more than a squadron of horses and men worn to 
utter weariness that mustered beyond the ford. 

Colonel Budd found himself looking into Colonel 
Royston's face. He drew his breath heavily like a 
man awaiting a blow. But Colonel Royston said 
nothing. He had no reproaches for another. He 
had heard the orders that conquered him ring in the 
voice of his friend. 

Colonel Budd dug his nails into his flesh. "Icha- 
bod !" he groaned. "Ichabod !" 



CHAPTER THIRTY 

COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 

T T WAS close upon dawn when Colonel Stow went 
-*- back to his quarters in the Corn Market and slept 
doughtily. He woke in the afternoon with Prince 
Rupert over his bed and a hearty, "Good fortune, 
good fellow !" buzzing in his ears. He blinked ami- 
ably. "So you gave Noll a poke in the short ribs?" 
quoth the Palatine. 

"Faith, he'll want a plaster this morning, sir," 
says Colonel Stow, sitting up. 

"I'll swear it's as pretty a thing as I have known," 
cried the Palatine and howled for a quart of Rhen- 
ish. Colonel Stow saluted from the bedclothes. "A 
sweet ambush, faith. And your weir is pure poet- 
ical." The wine came and Rupert with a thunder- 
ous "Prosit!" drank mightily and gave the tankard 
to Colonel Stow. "Yes, i'gad, a sweet affair. The 
King shall remember you for it. But look 'e, Jerry, 
what a pox were the Roundheads doing there at all? 
They would not risk so far afield on a chance. They 
had an information and exact to the hour. What do 
you make of it?" 

257 



258 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Stow caressed his beard and gathered his 
half-waked wits. There was but one of whom 
talk of treason could make him think. The memory 
of Lucinda surged back on him. He reached hastily 
for the tankard to hide his face and drank. . . . 
No, that at least was impossible. She might come to 
him and counsel it, but she herself could scarce go 
to Cromwell. , . . He put the tankard down 
and drew a long breath. 

"What are you thinking?" said the Palatine, look- 
ing at him curiously. 

"I am thinking, sir . . , that the whole af- 
fair is vastly strange. . . .If the Round- 
heads had gone round by Newbridge as a fool might 
have taught them, we had been kissing our hands to 
that convoy." 

Rupert went off on the new hare. He drew a 
map on the sheet and made Colonel Stow draw an- 
other. "Ods blood, 'tis so," he cried. "The whole 
is a mad business indeed. What do you make of it?" 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "Luck, sir. God help 
us all when there is no luck in war. By Your High- 
ness' leave, I will up." 

Rupert sat down on the bed as Colonel Stow got 
out of it and kept up a steady stream of debate and 
praise, which Colonel Stow answered fitfully. His 
mind was away. Now the stir of action was past, 
despair called him again and fear. And Rupert 
was talking of him as of Gustav Adolf or Henri IV. 

His strength was gone. He had staked his life 



COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 259 

on a cheat. Dreams were liars and hope and faith. 
He felt himself alone and all things mocked at him. 
The morrow had nothing to bring him more. He 
had lost what made his life. There was no more 
desire of deeds, no passion to use his strength. , He 
was listless of doing. Nay, true life was done. He 
could be sure of himself no more. Since he was a 
fool for his faith in her, he was a fool to believe in 
himself. He had failed his own great need, to win 
her and keep her true. If in that, why, then in all. 
He was but a weakling, who cheated himself with 
vanity — that most contemptible man of men. 

Now, with no work to hold his thought, no chance 
of war to quicken his blood, now first he felt the 
pain of his wound. The desire of all his manhood 
was widowed, the glad vision that had given him 
heart in the worst hours was changed to an ugly 
sprite of mockery; the happiness for which each 
power of him had striven desperately was torn away 
from his world. The very surging life of him made 
the pain throb keenly. He was too much a man not 
to suffer deep. 

Now, Matthieu-Marc-Luc was in some small ela- 
tion. He had even expended his substance on a 
quart of Burgundy, a rare generosity which Alci- 
biade honored duly. ''Dame," quoth Matthieu- 
Marc, "my soul pastures upon joy to-day." 

"May it chew a glad cud to-night," says Alci- 
biade. 



26o COLONEL GREATHEART 

"This is the first savory fight I have tasted in 
England," 

"Well enough," says Alcibiade, with his nose in 
the tankard, "like a toasted herring — no more than 
a shoeing horn to your dinner." 

"Remark me ! I do not esteem your fight by the 
size of it. 'Tis art, the pure art, that I love. Now, 
in this affair of the ford I appraise M. le Colonel 
as perfect." 

Alcibiade shrugged. "Give me the grand style," 
says he. "Pound me an army and I do not mind 
the trouble. These little affairs are art for my lady's 
maid." 

"You are gross, my friend. You are deaf to the 
finer melodies. But with me these neat actions ex- 
pand my soul. I am all spiritual to-day," sighed 
Matthieu-Marc. 

"Are you? Then come and see Molly," said Alci- 
biade, who had finished the wine. 

"Hum! I do not think I can love her, your 
Molly." 

"But she adores you." 

Matthieu-Marc-Luc curled his moustachios. "In 
effect, that is a reason for staying away. I would 
not break the woman's heart," 

"So. I believe she was right," said Alcibiade to 
himself. 

"O no, she was not," said Matthieu-Marc. "What 
did she say?" 

"That you were too shy for her eating, a sad, 



COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 261 

sober soldier. Then she sighed and said 'twas pity, 
for you were a proper man." 

Matthieu-Marc curled his moustachios more ve- 
hemently. "She has a discernment," said he. "And 
yet she hath none. Well, I will see her. . . . 
Hem ! Are you coming?" 

"Corbleu! you might like to take her alone," said 
Alcibiade. 

"Come with me, my good friend, you will amuse 
her." 

Alcibiade chuckled. 

So they crossed the Corn Market and made for 
Ship Street. Molly stood behind her tiny counter as 
wholesomely pleasant as her own cakes. Alcibiade 
looked expectant at Matthieu-Marc and nudged 
him. Matthieu-Marc shuffled his feet and said, 
"Hem!" and looked angular. 

"The kind gentleman has come to eat you, Molly," 
said Alcibiade. 

"A cake would agree with him better," quoth 
Molly. 

"My pretty," said Matthieu-Marc, with a fine 
bow, "your cheeks are rosy as a summer sunset." 

Alcibiade supplied a liquid whistle. 

"Shall I bring you fine weather, kind sir?" said 
Molly sweetly, leaning over to Matthieu-Marc with 
a smile of provocation. 

"There may be storms, my dear, there might be 
storms," quoth Matthieu-Marc in a hurry. 

Molly made the face of one about to weep. "Do 



262 COLONEL GREATHEART 

you think he really loves me?" said she in a loud 
whisper to Alcibiade. 

"I have certainly never said so," Matthieu-Marc 
protested. 

Alcibiade shook his head at him. "O wicked 
one! O breaker of hearts!" 

"I have hurt no heart in my life," quoth Mat- 
thieu-Marc indignant, "save some for roasting." 

"O, you are a bloody man indeed," cried Molly. 
"And would you have my poor heart stuffed with 
nasty onions?" 

Matthieu-Marc put out his chest. "It is a vile 
taste," quoth he. "I advise a forcemeat of egg and 
marjoram. Nay, my dear, save for my profession 
I am the gentlest man alive." 

"Gentle, quotha! And how many widows did you 
make last night?" 

"My dear," said Matthieu-Marc, "'tis every good 
man's duty to make widows. Thus freeing poor 
husbands from purgatory. For myself, well, there 
were some half-dozen went down before me last 
night. I was in the humor." 

Molly made eyes at him. "La, you turn me cold 
down my back and I love you terrible." 

Matthieu-Marc recoiled. "This is unseemly," 
said he. 

"Why shouldn't I tell 'e so?" says the artless 
Molly. "You ha' just swore you loved me." 

"Never o* my life!" cried Matthieu-M,arc in 
alarm. 



COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 263 

She appealed with pathos to Alcibiade. "Did 'e 
not, now? You heard him." 

"With both my ears," said Alcibiade readily. 
Then to Matthieu-Marc, "O, wickedness, old wick- 
edness, go to !" 

"You see!" cried Molly with reproach; then with 
sobs, "And you are all unkind indeed!" 

Matthieu-Marc made the world a gesture of de- 
spair. "So be it! So be it!" he cried. "You love 
me. I love you. And it shall be very uncomforta- 
ble for both of us." 

Molly took her red face out of her hands. She 
presented to Matthieu-Marc with determination one 
cheek, and as he came to it more delicately than 
Agag, held out her hand to Alcibiade for the 
wagered shilling. 

"Matthieu-Marc, my dear, you will have a saving 
wife," said Alcibiade. 

Matthieu-Marc started back from the rosy cheek 
vehemently and gazed with awe at Alcibiade, who 
laughed in no manner of encouragement. 

"How you do waste my time," quoth Molly. "As 
if I wanted either of you." 

"My pretty," cried Matthieu-Marc, "you relieve 
my soul." 

"I never touched it," said Molly with some in- 
dignation. She considered them severely. "Lud, 
there's one I care for more than the both of you." 

Alcibiade leaned over the counter and pressed her 
waist. "What ! Faithless so soon !" 



264 COLONEL GREATHEART 

''Have done! How is your Colonel?" 

"M. le Colonel is as well as a man can be without 
courting you, my pretty," said Matthieu-Marc. 

But Alcibiade had grown grave. "Why do you 
ask, Molly?" 

She made a queer answer. "Because he is a man 
that makes you feel safe being a woman. I could 
do things for him. And he would not want me." 
Her rosy, round face fell sad with a. quaint look of 
childhood. "You know the big man, his friend, and 
her that I call the hungry one? I think they are 
gone away together." 

After a moment of silence Matthieu-Marc struck 
his brow dramatically. "False Lancelot! False 
Guinevere!" he cried. 

But Alcibiade said in a low voice, "Are you sure, 
Molly?" 

"It was in the dark of the night before you 
marched out He went off up the street with a spare 
horse and after I saw him riding with her down the 
Broad Street. They are gone together. 
O, I could have a laugh. They'll give each other 
cobbler's wages. . . . But, does he know?" 

"Are you sure, Molly?" said Alcibiade again. 

"I could slap your fat face," cried Molly with 
sudden ferocity, and turned her back on him. 

Alcibiade went out. 

Matthieu-Marc cleared his throat and shook his 
head. "It is the nature of your sex, child, to be 
light, child, to be frail, to be false. You were made 



COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 265 

for the shame of men. But man is greater than 
shame, and his soul is glorified in the shame of your 
treason — 

" ^Souvent femme varie, 
Bien fol qui s'y fie.' 

The lusty King Francois — " 

"Was a fool like yourself," Molly snapped. 

Matthieu-Marc struck an attitude and set himself 
to stare her down. He retired in no good order. 

"Go your ways, go your ways," said Molly. 
"You'll never know anything, you men. You are 
too clever." Thereafter she wept, which was cer- 
tainly not clever. For whom or for what she had 
found it hard to say. 

Alcibiade made his solemn way first to Royston's 
lodging, then to Lucinda's and heard the truth 
again. Then — to see him would doubtless have in- 
creased the wrath of Molly — he took counsel with a 
pipe. And that sent him to Colonel Stow. 

Colonel Stow was alone still. He met Alcibiade 
with tired eyes. "You may call it ill news, sir," said 
Alcibiade, saluting. 

"Well?" 

"On the night before we marched Colonel Roy- 
ston left Oxford with Mademoiselle Weston." 

Colonel Stow hesitated a moment and then 
laughed. "Who dares say that?" 

"There is no doubt, sir." 



266 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"It — It is not true," said Colonel Stow, and Alci- 
biade saw his lips tremble and his hand. Indeed, it 
was all too bitterly clear. He could not fight against 
it. The riddle was answered. There could be no 
more doubt. The treason came from his friend and 
his love. She was the mind, Royston the arm that 
struck at his honor. "It is not true," said Colonel 
Stow. 

Alcibiade saluted. "It is whatever you please, 
sir." 

Colonel Stow turned away, in a listless gesture 
bade Alcibiade go, and rested his head on his hand. 
Alcibiade walked to the window and stayed 
there. 

Colonel Stow leaned over the table, feeble and 
cold. It seemed that his heart was dead, his life 
gone out of him. This was the end. She had 
robbed him of all — hope .and faith and love and 
strength. Even his friend . . . even his 
friend . . . He began to cry like a child and 
with the tears his stunned mind woke to feel again. 
Then he drove his teeth into his lip and twisted 
wrist against wrist to get an easier pain. To make 
his friend play traitor against him and seek his ruin, 
to steal his friend's heart away, sure this was a 
devil's work, no woman's. She had no part in life 
but to make men base. And he had set his life 
upon her. Had loved? Was it all past? Nay, the 
worst shame was that still he had a vile yearning for 
her. That — ^that must go at least. He could not 



COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 267 

dare even the release of death if he loved her 
still. . . . 

There in the falling twilight, huddled together, 
quivering, a desperate thing, afraid of his own fate, 
he drove her out of his heart for ever. Whatever 
might lie beyond, whatever strange meetings there, 
at least he would have no need of her. His soul 
should loathe her as now his body shuddered at the 
memory of her kiss. She should be nothing through 
all eternity, if there was an eternity to endure. So 
then. Death had no fear. Death could be no worse 
than the traitorous world. Death would spare him 
something at least — the scorn and the sneers, the 
long misery of effort when a man was sure to fail. 
Death. 

He sat up and brushed his hand over his wet eyes. 
There in the gloom, stiff-backed, staring out, stood 
Alcibiade, like a sentinel over the dying day. The 
hard, soldierly strength, quiet and still, appealed to 
him strangely. He was like a man buffeted and 
weary in the battle of a breaking sea, to whose 
smarting eyes comes through the spindrift and 
the spray a glimpse of dark land beyond the raven- 
ing line of foam. . . . Well. The whole world 
had not passed away because he was in trouble. 

Something stood real beyond his passion and 
his pain. . . . Why, perhaps he was drunk with 
self; perhaps his mind sought mad fancies of tor- 
ture, fed upon its own ill dream. Ay, faith, his 
very woes might be unreal, a nightmare for him 



268 COLONEL GREATHEART 

alone. He felt himself half sunk in a realm of 
ghastly fantasy, half away in the real world of ac- 
tion. . . . And still pain stung at him and 
shame and though it were all phantasm and 
cheat, his soul was chained in it. He felt. 
He suffered. The strength of others had no help 
for him. He was at war with the false spirit of life. 
He had no part in the peace that brought the world 
content. Against that he was rebel. . . . 
And yet was it not a coward, a weakling, 
that could be hurt so much? O, a man need not be 
ashamed to feel. Where there was life there was 
pain. It was a sluggish soul who had not learned 
that But to fall out of the fight for a wound; to 
capitulate to pain ; to g^ve the strength of body and 
soul to a debauch of suffering ; that was not worthy 
of a man. Your true man would yield no more to 
sorrow than he must. He should tiglit out of it. At 
the most, at the worst, pain and shame were fetters 
that bound. A man must break them and be the 
stronger for the combat. That should be true sight 
which showed him agony as a nightmare, as an evil 
dream and the world of endless effort clean and 
real. Suffering was one of the cheating shadows of 
life, sent to blind and daze and bewilder that a man 
might learn to trust himself and be strong. He 
must fight out of it. . . . Ay, if all else failed, 
he was left with the strength of his own soul. 
It was enough, though the spirit of the world's 
chance and change were false. He made head 



COLONEL STOW RESOLVES TO LAUGH 269 

against all. He stood strong in the darkness. 
He w.as sure. . . . The first fierce pang 
might come again and after the dull ache 
of despair. He could not vaunt himself safe. 
With no hope, no honor but his own to fight for, 
there was little joy to win. Surely in the empty 
hours despair would beset him again. He had not 
conquered yet. It was idle to boast to himself. All 
life might be the prey of sorrow and death bring 
joy. . . . Well, The better reason to fight. To 
defy despair were the happier way. To yield were 
to multiply misery, to despise himself. Nay, he must 
hold right on with eyes wide, with head erect. . . 

It was folly, it was weakness, to wail at life. So 
a man confessed himself beaten, so he made defeat 
harder. In the last, worst hours a man should laugh. 
The right, unanswerable answer to the blackest ma- 
lice of fate was a jest. He was greater than all trag- 
edy who dared mock at his own. Strength and the 
quiet mind were linked with gaiety. Not without 
that could a man know himself. . . . There 
was, in fact, some humor in this desperate attempt to 
be humorous. He heard himself laugh out. 

Alcibiade turned and saluted across the dark. 

Colonel Stow rose up and came close to him. "Al- 
cibiade," said he, "I never interested myself so 
much. And I was never less interesting. Resolve 
that," 

"Sir," said Alcibiade, "a man should only think 
of himself while he has no need." 



270 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"That is not an answer," said Colonel Stow. 

"No, sir. It is an impertinence. Nothing is so 
pertinent as an impertinence. That is life." 

"You are wise to-night, Alcibiade." 

Alcibiade made a gesture of despair. "Because I 
ought to be foolish. That is my miserable nature." 

"I like your nature." 

"Sir, I deplore your taste." 

"I am going to borrow it" 

"Sir, you will be foolish when you should be 
wise." 

"I hope so," said Colonel Stow. 

And as he spoke the trumpets sounded for the 
night guard. 



T 



CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE 

THE COMMISSARY GENERAL IS DISAPPOINTED 

HAT morning a little before dawn a 



-■- wretched, silent company had ridden into 
Abingdon. When they turned to the market-place 
Colonel Budd spoke for the first time, save for sav- 
ory quotations from the Scripture, "I go straight- 
way to the lieutenant general, sir. I bid you come." 

Colonel Royston grunted. "Bad will be no worse 
for sleeping on it," said he. He was worn out and 
dully puzzled at himself, for his great body hardly 
knew weariness. 

Together they came to the lieutenant general's 
quarters. They were both ill enough to see, as they 
waited in the ghastly mingled light of candles and 
the first pale dawn. The lieutenant general him- 
self, uncombed, unshaven, with his linen awry, was 
not more comely. But the commissary came neat 
as ever. 

"Well, friend, well? Have you not sped?" quoth 
Cromwell. 

Colonel Budd groaned aloud. "Israel is fled be- 
fore the Philistines and there hath been also a great 
slaughter among the people," said Colonel Budd. 

271 



372 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Why, how now !" cried Cromwell, frowning. The 
commissary turned not without satisfaction upon 
Colonel Royston. 

" 'Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me,' " 
said Colonel Budd. "For this man hath done no 
wrong. Nay, verily, his counsel was as if a man 
had enquired of the oracle of God. The which, if I 
had used, the children of God were not put to con- 
fusion. I have sinned greatly. Yea, I have done 
very foolishly." 

Cromwell banged his hand down on the table. 
"Make short, man, make short" 

Colonel Budd muttered some solace of Scripture 
and began : "You are to know that all the day went 
prosperously. We came with no man against us 
safely upon the road to the west and even as this 
savory member did prophesy unto us, the convoy of 
the men of Belial came ; yea, and by his devices we 
had the advantage of it and did possess it alto- 
gether. Then he bade us gird up our loins and be 
gone, but I tarried a while to do execution on the 
Amalekites. In the which I can not blame myself, 
though the Lord, Whose ways are a mystery, re- 
quited me ill." 

"What, sirrah?" Cromwell thundered. "Would 
you judge your God?" 

"My damnation is unto His glory," quoth Colonel 
Budd, "yet may I call it damnation. Well, sir, it 
was full dark before we marched and I proposed to 
myself the nearest road by the ford of Bablock- 



THE COMMISSARY GENERAL 273 

hithe. Then this good brother in the Lord con- 
tended with me, yea, strove hard with me, that we 
should go round by the way we came, afar from the 
city of the Philistines. But I would not hear him. 
Verily, one sinner destroyeth much good, and the 
labor of the fool weareth every one away. So I 
would not harken unto him, but went by the broad 
road which leadeth unto destruction. And, behold, 
even at the ford, while the half the regiment was 
cumbered in the river, the Philistines fell upon us 
and they did undo us utterly. Whereby I bring you 
back no convoy and of my regiment one broken 
squadron. For the wrath of the Lord is kindled 
against me and my name shall be a hissing." 

"And through thee the heathen have come into 
their inheritance," said Cromwell. "Truly an 
haughty spirit is an abomination unto the Lord." 

"Sir, I am humbled, even unto the dust. I be- 
seech you show me no mercy. For truly the Lord is 
a jealous God." 

Cromwell beat his fingers on the table. The com- 
missary was attentive to Colonel Royston, whose de- 
jection interested him: "You, sir, have you any- 
thing to say?" 

"It is not my humor to accuse a comrade," 
growled Royston. "The gentleman is a brave gen- 
tleman." 

The commissary looked disappointed. "You do 
^ot accuse him neither?" 

"I have answered you," growled Royston. 



274 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"You say well, friend," quoth Cromwell. "Ay, 
and you have done well. Your promise hath been 
fairly performed. You are in my remembrance. O, 
sir, let's not be weary in well doing. Colonel Budd, 
the cause of the Lord hath suffered by you. You'll 
face a court." 

"Sir, I thank you," cried Colonel Budd. Royston 
saluted without a word, and they went their way. 

"The Lord deliver us from fools, Henry Ireton," 
said Cromwell. 

"That will He not in this world, sir." 

"Nay, verily. And this Jacob is an ass absolute. 
Heard you ever such a chronicle of folly? Well. 
The other is a right honest, true, sturdy fellow. 
Would I had given him command !" 

"I am disappointed," said the commissary gen- 
eral. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO 

LUCINDA IS WOOED 

LUCINDA endured an impatient ennui. Of no 
account, friendless in a town of Puritan sol- 
diers, she found each hour a week. Withal she 
panted to hear of Royston's fortune. I suppose 
there was always in her heart a love for Colonel 
Stow, and that very love made her yearn for tidings 
of his defeat, ay, of his death, li she had cared 
nothing, she could have let him go without one touch 
of pain. But he had sown in her a strange yearn- 
ing that would not die. Still she desired him, and 
it was more than desire. There was that in her soul 
which he had waked to life and without him it was 
hungry. She might have laughed, I think, at his 
scorn, if scorn had been all his offense. But that he 
should dare to make her need him and deny her was 
a wrong that rankled and made and fed on paiil. 
Through each weary hour she was the more en- 
raged. 

It was with no good heart that Colonel Roystoh 
came to her at last. She started from her chaif". 
"What fortune?" she cried eagerly. "What for- 
tune?" 

275 



276 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"None." 

"How?" Her face was dark and distorted. "You 
failed? You've let him laugh?" 

"Him?" Royston cried and snatched her wrist. 
"How much did you know?" 

"Ah! You are hurting me," she screamed like a 
child, for his hand had closed in merciless force, and 
struggled to escape. 

"What do I care? . . . You devil, you knew 
it!" He wrenched her wrist round in his passion, 
then flung her from him so that she reeled against 
the wall. 

She was white with pain. "You are m.ad, I 
think," she said, hardly commanding her voice. 
"What is it I know?" 

"You knew that Jerry Stow was coming out for 
the convoy. You knew it was his affair. You sent 
me to trap him and ruin him, you damned 
traitress !" 

"O, la, you have lost your wits," she laughed. "Of 
course I knew it was his. Why else should I care 
to destroy it? Sure, you must have guessed so much. 
There is no treason here." 

"Why did you not tell me, then ? You swore you 
did not know who would command for the King. 
Why?" 

"O, because I knew you a poltroon. If you had 
thought you had him against you, you had not 
dared. I know you I" 

Royston gave a queer laugh. "Are you so sure? 



LUCINDA IS WOOED 277 

.. . . But, by God! I would break your back 
sooner than beat him." 

She stood against him, quick-breathed, defiant 
Her charm was greatest so. But Royston looked 
down at her with a small, sneering smile. "Well. 
*Tis his back I have made you break," she said. 

Royston shrugged. "He can do without you. 
And me, my dear. Do you know, sweetheart" — he 
laughed on the word — "when I heard him shouting 
to his troopers I thanked God he had us so that 
there was no way out," 

"O, you thank God you are a fool." 

"Perhaps I wish I were. You would have done 
without me then." 

"And do you think I'll not do without you now?" 
she cried. "Well, tell me the tale. Let me hear 
what a fool you are." 

Royston told ; dwelling with malicious delight on 
the skill of Colonel Stow and the utter rout of the 
Puritans. "Faith, Jerry will have his laugh at us 
to-day, my dear." 

"I hate you," she cried, and her eyes flamed and 
her voice was ugly. She crouched back as if she 
would spring upon him. 

"Why, that is some relish," he laughed and ap- 
proached her. "That will give me some pleasure at 
the wedding." 

"Wedding?" She flung a shrill laugh back. "Do 
you think I will wed such a thing as you ? I wanted 
a man — a man to revenge me. You — a coward that 



278 COLONEL GREATHEART 

can not strike for himself, a weakling that whines 
for a blow. I'll lead apes in hell before I come to 
your arms." 

"Ay, this makes it sweeter yet," said Royston, 
with an evil smile. "Rage against me. I need some- 
thing to breed me love." 

"You — what have you to offer me? What will 
they give you here? The whip for a false spy, 
branding for the foresworn. Nay, I have done with 
you. O, you were no worth ever in yourself, but I 
thought you might win a soldier's place in this cant- 
ing army. If you won power and wealth I could 
use them. But you — you — why, I have loved a 
man." 

"Yes, I foresee pleasure for you," said Royston 
and took her in his arms. 

With the strength of mad passion she hurled her- 
self free. "Dare that again and I cry out on you 
for a ravisher," she panted. "O, you have nothing 
in you but the force of a brute. Do you think I 
will yield to that?" 

"No. You shall ask for it," said Royston coolly. 
He sat himself down at his ease and bent his dark 
brows upon her. "Fool, I am not a man to be 
cheated. You bought me to be a rogue, but by 
God you shall pay my price. Bah, I knew you 
would be false if you could. Try. Tell your tale 
and I'll tell mine. You have left yourself no 
honor with the King. I'll see that you have none 
here," he laughed. "Will you take a high tone to 



LUCINDA IS WOOED 279 

me? By Heaven, you shall beg before me before 
I touch you again. If I choose to leave you, what 
resource have you? You dare not go back to the 
King. All the army knows you for the treacherous 
light o'love you are. Will you go dwell among 
the yokels ? Ay, till your hot ambition drives you 
mad. Will you try your charms on these cold 
Puritans? Faith, that should be mirthful. I'll 
commend you to Cromwell. When you end with 
the slashed face the godly men give a camp follower 
I'll provide you a pittance." She was very pale 
and she shuddered but still her eyes withstood him. 
"Ay, mistress, you have cut yourself from all 
but me. 'All for love.' quo' she, 'and the world 
well lost.' And I — well, I have sold myself cheap, 
but at least I will have all you can give." He 
leaned towards her, his full face grim and greedy. 
She moved her head to and fro, but her eyes could 
not escape his. Her lips were apart for the quick 
breath. "Bah, why do you play at pride? We 
have done with that, you and I. We are bare for 
each other in greed and desire. What use to feign 
nice dignity? I know your soul. You need my 
ways. Ay, even now you want me, you are leaning 
to my arms. Fool, do you think I can not feel it? 
"Come!" He held out his hand. "Come!" he 
cried again, his face flushing. 

She looked a long while, trembling a little again 
and again. Then she put out her hand timidly and 
let it fall in his. He would not grasp it, he drew 



28o COLONEL GREATHEART 

her no nearer. She heard him laugh. A blush 
flooded all her face, her eyes fell. With a strange, 
wretched cry she flung herself into his arms. She 
was crushed against him, impotent, sufi"ering. 
. . for a while she knew nothing but pain. Then 
she cast her arms about him and clung to him pas- 
sionately. "There is — there is something, isn't 
there?" she said through a sobbing laugh and hid 
her face against his shoulder. He took her chin 
and forced her face to his and covered her with 
cruel, greedy kisses . . . She gave herself to 
them . . . And then on a sudden she shrank 
away from him and covered her burning cheeks 
and shuddered . . . She was away in the 
farthest reach of his arms and rent with sobs. 

Royston crushed her quivering against him. 
"My wife," he said and laughed. "My wife!" 



CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE 

JOAN NORMANDY PLAYS PROXY 

MISTRESS Joy Stone, the mayor's daughter of 
Thame, loved the river meadows. Thither 
from the hospital lodged in the grammar school, 
she bore Joan Normandy. A quick wind came 
fragrant from the limes about the churchyard, the 
thornbrakes were a sweet flame of white, the banks 
blue with speedwell. But Mistress Joy was in a 
great haste. They turned from the highway to the 
river bank and Joan hung back watching the swift, 
dark water. Mistress Joy snapped off a kingcup 
and sighed and pulled another, looked over the 
wide, empty meadows and sighed again. Her round, 
childish face was marked with a quaint gravity. 
"Do you like me, Joan?" said she. "Truly?" 

"Why, child, who does not?" 

"I am sure I can not tell why any one should," 
said Joy, with melancholy satisfaction. "I am very 
sinful indeed. Sometimes I think I am a child of 
wrath. And I am quite stupid. And I — would you 
say that I am comely, Joan?" 

"I would laugh at you till you laugh too." 

"I suppose one ought not to be unhappy save 
281 



282 COLONEL GREATHEART 

concerning one's salvation. Have you ever been 
quite, quite unhappy, Joan?" 

"In truth, child, if you were so you would not 
tell of it." 

"I am shameful," said Joy with decision. "Dear 
heart, do I weary you ? You are strong and noble, 
and I — why it is a puzzle to be a woman, you 
know." 

" 'Tis a puzzle you'll not get out of, dear. Nor 
want to, maybe." 

"O, shall I not! Would I could change my 
heart and my coats, I should go the easier. Nay, 
but conceive me a man ! Would you love me, sweet 
Joan?" 

"Sure, sir, you are too bold," Joan laughed. 

"Nay, madame, I am a good knight and kiss be- 
fore I speak," she cried, and slipping her arm about 
Joan's waist, she did it — and sprang back as if she 
were stung, a pretty crimson. Close upon them 
was David Stow. She turned away, tugging Joan's 
hand. "Nay, Joan, come — come away," she whis- 
pered wildly. 

"Why, you are a good knight and kiss before 
you speak," Joan laughed in her ear, and louder: 
"Good morrow, sir." 

David Stow saluted. "And to you, madame." 
Joy still presented to him her back. "Pray convey 
my greeting to Mistress Stone's face." 

"Major Stow would salute your face, cousin," 
quoth Joan. 



JOAN NORMANDY PLAYS PROXY 283 

"I thank him for it," Joy stammered. 

"Sir, she thanks you for it with my lips," said 
Joan, her eyes gay. 

"A fair proxy. Madame, will you walk?" 

"Why, sir, with good will," Joan laughed and 
proceeded to walk away. 

There was a cry of anguish. "Joan !" 

David Stow arrested her. "Believe me, madame, 
you will be an aid." 

"Sure, 'tis scarce to be believed. But with right 
good will, sir. Come, cousin." She linked arms 
with Joy, but her design to bring the two next each 
other was frustrated by the agility of both of them. 
So the three paced on over the meadows, Joan smil- 
ing in the middle, David Stow mightily grave upon 
her left hand, Joy hanging back out of his sight on 
the other. "The thrushes are gay in the sunshine," 
Joan suggested. They had nothing to say about 
the thrushes. "There is meadowsweet and may 
in the wind." They were not inspired by the wind. 
"Indeed, 'tis a fair day for you." They had no 
gratitude for the day. "But I can not do it all." 
She looked from one to the other with a whimsical 
smile. But her eyes stayed longer upon David 
Stow and the smile died. 

"A man never knows how little he is worth till 
he thinks of himself with a woman, madame," said 
he with the air of a discoverer. 

"It must then be a melancholy moment, sir," says 
Joan. 



284 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"I think a man knows little of a woman, Joan," 
said Joy in a low voice, 

"For then" — David Stow continued his confes- 
sions to Joan — "for then he perceives how coarse 
and hard is man's nature, how unfit for a woman's 
soul." 

"For which God made it," said Joan. 

"Nay, madame, which of us does not know how 
much he falls short of the purpose of God, which 
designed us for happiness in His service." 

"And good courage." 

David Stow started and saluted like a soldier 
who has been chidden. 

"Joan, I think it hurts sometimes when people 
call themselves ill," said Joy, her voice trembling. 

"That is when the people are dear to us," said 
Joan. 

"Nay, nay, not that at all," Joy cried in alarm. 
"But you would not have people abase themselves, 
would you, Joan? 'Tis like being a coward." 

"Why, then, cousin, I think I heard you a coward 
a while ago." 

David Stow made an exclamation. Joy's blushes 
surged and fled. "Hush, O, hush !" she gasped. 

Joan obeyed . . . "Nay, then, if T am si- 
lent, what will befall you?" said she. 

"Why, madame, I could tell you of one who is 
a coward and weak and vain withal, who yet dares 
hope — hope — " But he dared no more and Joy 
dared nothing. 



JOAN NORMANDY PLAYS PROXY 285 

Then Joan, with a quaint, tender smile, "Cousin, 
I have to tell you of one who dares hope," 

"I — I — I — when the people of old saw God they 
were sore afraid. And, Joan — do you think — is't 
even so when we know the joy of the love that He 
gives ?" 

"I can not tell that," said Joan in a low voice. She 
drew her arm away and slipped back, leaving them 
side by side. It was at the man she looked, at his 
pale face, earnest and grave .and glad. Then, with 
a strange gesture she turned and fled from them. 

David Stow took Joy's hands in his and drew her 
close. Grave-eyed and pale and silent, she came 
and rested against his heart. He bowed over her, 
and so they stood in the sunlight, still and quiet. 

But as Joan sped away to the town she looked 
through a mist of tears. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR 

LUCINDA IS WED 

THE campaign was afoot. Rupert broke out of 
Oxford and made a swift foray .across the 
midlands. Sir Thomas Fairfax, a man of method, 
bade his New Model army draw together upon 
Thame. So the lieutenant general set a strong post 
in Abingdon and moved northward. 

Now, the New Model, which sought to provide 
itself with the newest inventions of the art of war, 
had got a great regiment of dragooners. There 
were few of the Puritans knew clearly what a 
dragooner ought to be or do. The commissary 
general, who mistrusted them profoundly, saw in 
them a happy way to dispose of Colonel Royston. 
He might, being a veteran, know how to use them. 
If so, well. They might, being neither fish, flesh 
nor good red herring, go down in a notable ruin. 
And that would not be all ill, either. 

So it is as major of the lieutenant's dragooners, 
the weedy men on cobs with red coats and no ar- 
mor nor helmet, but a sword and dragon apiece, 
that you see Royston ride into Thame. His men 

286 



LUCINDA IS WED 287 

were half trooper, half musketeer, and the scorn 
of both, but Royston liked them well enough. They 
were ne'er-do-wells, not saints. The strenuous, 
godly souls chose regiments they understood. Roy- 
ston had what was left, the fellows who wanted not 
salvation but sport and eighteen pence a day. He 
understood them. With them he could make him- 
self a place. 

The world w,as going well with him again. He 
had a cynic laugh at circumstance. Honest friend- 
ship brought him nothing but ill. A nasty treason 
set him on the way to fortune and pleasure. For 
there was pleasure, keen pleasure that whipped his 
sense and mind, in Lucinda. Her hot passion, ay 
and her strength that strove fierce against him still, 
and the pain he saw her feel bore him a storm of 
delight. She was utterly desirable in her yearning 
and her scorn, a wild woman who longed for him 
and loathed him at once, made fit food for his 
desperate soul. 

She was won now. He rode into Thame on a 
May morning that sparkled with frost to possess 
her. The mass of trees about the gray square tower 
were gay in their new dress, gold and white and 
gray as the wind played and a hundred dainty 
shades of green. Royston sent his men to their 
tents in the fields southward of the little town and 
strode away. Lucinda was lodged in the overhang- 
ing upper rooms of a new house by the grammar 
school. She kept him waiting a while, and when 



288 COLONEL GREATHEART 

she came from her bed chamber surprised him by 
her somberness. She was all dark gray. 

"The Puritan bride, sir," quoth she with a mock- 
ing curtsy. 

"Say you so? Then I pity you." 

"Well." She looked at him long, then gave a 
reckless laugh. "O, ay, we are fit mates." 

"You flatter me," said Royston, as he gave her 
his arm. 

Together, silent, they made their way to the 
church, little heeded in the bustle of the gathering 
army. But, on a sudden, Lucinda checked and 
faltered. Royston, looking down, saw her face all 
crimson. "It is nothing. It is a faintness," she 
gasped, and for a moment hung heavy on his arm. 

Through the throng she had seen a lilting gait 
that she remembered and was aware of shame. But 
her heart played false. She knew, she knew that it 
could not be he. Angry, with head erect, she went 
on her way. Royston had not seen. 

In the doorway of the mayor's house, David Stow 
made way for Joan, and, turning, saw the bride. 
He made an exclamation. "Surely there are some 
there that we know," quoth he. 

Joan saw and was white. "I — I do not under- 
stand," she said unsteadily. 

"Nay, but I must," said David Stow, and turned 
from the house of his lady and went after them. 
And Joan followed him. 

The wind was blowing free through the great 



LUCINDA IS WED 289 

church, for the glass of its best windows had been 
beaten out by savory souls, zealous to destroy the 
works of Baal, when they rabbled the vicar. On 
the steps of the choir, Mr, Hugh Peters, Crom- 
well's warrior chaplain, awaited them in gown of 
Geneva and bands. Save for him the church was 
empty. "Gird up your loins," he cried. "You 
come to a godly work," and added a joke kindly 
enough but something broad. 

Upon the mere wedding he wasted Httls time. 
It was a bluff question apiece and a hearty "I pro- 
nounce you man and wife before the living God!" 
Mr. Peters was not a man of ceremonies, but he 
valued himself as a preacher and that he had but 
one or two gathered together before him was never 
any restraint. Lucinda had to hear a history of 
matrimony from its origin, illuminated by the lead- 
ing cases of Bathsheba, Jezebel and Henrietta Ma- 
ria, which later became a homily and an exhorta- 
tion on wifely duties, distinguished by solid sense 
rather than delicacy. It is likely that Royston was 
amused. There was a grim humor mingled even 
in his passions. But Lucinda had nothing of that 
and her heart was raging. That this ruddy parson 
should dare to school her like a milkmaid! Cherish 

I and obey, quotha ! The Lord loveth a goodly 
housewife! The godly rearing of children! Her 
eyes flamed at Mr. Peters. Her hands clenched 
and unclenched nervously. And Mr. Peters smiled 
upon her and spoke with some unction of a maid's 




290 COLONEL GREATHEART 

fears. Lucinda was hot with a wrath she scarce 
understood. There was a questioning wonder in 
the eyes that flamed. True, he was a gross, inso- 
lent fool, but that should not suffice to move her so. 
He promised her passion the burdens of common 
life, the dull daily labors of women of no account. 
Bah, it was ludicrous, but what matter for such 
anger? Why, because it filched the glamour and 
joy from her desires; she sought a wild reign of 
sensation, and he foretold her dull wifehood, the 
life of a slave. Service of Royston — was that to 
be her lot? To be spent in motherhood ? She turned 
upon Royston with a fierce stare of hate, and seeing 
the placid sneer on his full lips broke out in ugly 
laughter. 

It alarmed Mr. Peters, who, a man of chanty, 
conceived her overwrought by the fears of maidenly 
modesty and his own eloquence and cut the latter 
short. He took them apart to sign his book (the 
registers of the church had vanished with the ex- 
iled vicar). "I dismiss you to joy," said he. "But 
let not your private joys make you sleepy in the 
service of the Lord." 

"I'll assure they shall not," said Lucinda, and 
laughed again. 

Royston thrust her arm through his with a mas- 
terful gesture and bore her off at a gait too fast 
for grace. 

From behind a pillar of the nave came a neat 
man of middle size, Royston checked heavily with 



LUCINDA IS WED 291 

a thud and clatter of spur and sword and a boom- 
ing oath. Lucinda was struggling to be away from 
him. For surely it was Colonel Stow. 

"Pray, sir, have you any tidings of my brother?" 
said David Stow. 

"Good morrow and well met," said Royston 
heartily. "Did you know my wife when she was 
a maid?" 

David Stow saluted. "I have heard much and 
heard less than the truth, I think," he said, and 
his grave eyes rested on Lucinda. 

Lucinda made him a curtsy, and Royston, giv- 
ing room for her skirts, stepped aside and saw Joan 
Normandy. "Ha, here is an old affection. Yes, 
my dear, Jerry is very well." Lucinda, starting 
at the tone, turned to see the girl blush to her brow. 
The two women gazed at each other, and Lucinda 
saw wonder and pity. 

"I thought you and Jerry so close friends," said 
David Stow in grave, level tones. 

"Why, friends we are still, I hope," said Roy- 
ston with a laugh. "Jerry found his account with 
the King and I could not. Faith, sir, the more I 
know the King's cause the worse I like it. Jerry 
had another mind. But I will uphold his honesty." 

"You are very good, sir." 

"Well, the truth is I sought a cleaner standard, 
and owing no faith to the King, was free to seek. 
I would that Jerry were of my mind or I could be 
of his. Well, it is life!" 



292 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"And Mistress Royston came with you from Ox- 
ford to share it?" 

"Why, madame could not endure the license of 
the court, and — " 

"There was none to protect her?" 

"There was none to whom she could give the 
right but me," said Royston with dignity. 

David Stow looked keenly from one to the other. 
"I give you joy of to-day," he said and stood aside 
to let them pass. 

Lucinda, as she swept by, saw the wonder in 
Joan's face blent with joy . . . 

David Stow turned from watching them back 
to Joan. "Shall we be gone, madame?" But he saw 
that she did not hear, he saw her eyes. Joan was 
left in the great church alone. 

Heavy of foot, silent, Lucinda was borne to her 
lodging. Royston looked down at her with a mock- 
ing smile, but he did not understand. Fear dulled 
her heart. She was bound by the new dread of a 
jealous hate. If Colonel Stow should fall to an- 
other woman's breast, if he should find happiness 
so, then was her fate intolerable. That Puritan girl 
dared love him and it might be . . . while she 
was Royston's toy . . . 

Come to her lodging, safe in the upper room, 
Royston caught her greedily. Her lips were cold. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE 

COLONEL STOW IS SHOWN HIS DUTY 

"A II /"E go out to war, my dear," said Matthieu- 

^ ^ Marc. 

"And you'll come back and marry me, will 'e 
not?" said Molly amiably. 

Matthieu-Marc coughed. "Marriage," said he, 
"is a sacrament ; you may also consider it a sauce. I 
am not sure that you are worthy the one. I am 
sure that you need not the other." 

Molly boxed his ears. "The truth is, you are 
afraid of me." 

"I fear nothing but God and an English ome- 
lette," said Matthieu-Marc with indignation. 

"Then you do not love me?" said Molly. 

"I love all women — who do not love me." 

"Sure that is the whole world of them!" 

Matthieu-Marc recovered his spirits. "I shall die 
the bachelor I was born," said he with enthusiasm. 
Molly proffered her cheek. He saluted it before 
he swaggered out. 

Then Alcibiade, who had been eating a cake in 
contented obscurity, approached for the like favor. 

293 



294 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Molly withdrew. "Parbleu, Molly, no woman loves 
me neither," Alcibiade protested. 

" 'Tis a fool that says so." 

"But would a fool want your lips?" 

"No fool will ever get them," quoth Molly and 
withstood him earnestly. 

So that he faltered in the struggle, and looking 
something pathetic, said, "Adieu, my dear," and 
went off. 

"Sure, he is a fool indeed," said Molly, and left 
her cakes, to cry. 

They had not gone far out of Oxford when the 
cavalry came clashing against the Puritans. Then 
Colonel Stow enjoyed life. One good regiment 
could not save the army, but his could entertain 
itself well in affairs of outposts. His men lacked 
indeed the Puritan flame, but they knew their trade 
now to the last letter, and in the crafty by-play of 
war the fanatic had no advantage. 

While Sir Thomas Fairfax lay at Stony Strat- 
ford, it fell to Colonel Rich, a very fervent mem- 
ber, to watch the byways through Whittlewood For- 
est. Now Colonel Stow, schooled in the Duke of 
Weimar's Black Forest campaigns, had reared an 
uncommon kind of cavalry which was as happy in 
a wood as out of it. He exercised Colonel Rich 
marvelously, so that the good man expected the 
second coming sooner than ever. The seventh an- 
gel, he pointed out, had plainly poured out his vial 
and the woman which sat upon the scarlet beast 



COLONEL STOW IS SHOWN HIS DUTY 295 

was already almost drunken with the blood of the 
saints. 

Colonel Stow snapped up the Puritans here and 
there till there were some score and a half of 
melancholy prisoners locked in the barn at Brack- 
ley Hatch. One rainy dawn a couple of squadrons 
got past Colonel Rich altogether and fell on Skip- 
pon's quarters at Denshanger, to the extreme dis- 
pleasure of that worthy martinet, who proposed 
that Colonel Rich should await the second coming 
in his grave. For Colonel Stow's men beat in a 
picket, blew up a stableful of powder, carried off 
a wagon of silver, a score of prisoners and the 
sergeant major's pet chaplain. 

Colonel Rich explained that his name should be 
called Magor Missabib and that the beast was with 
power and seat and great authority. The lieuten- 
ant general pleaded for Colonel Rich as a vessel of 
righteousness and Skippon allowed himself to be 
appeased. 

But Colonel Rich was hardly the happier. He 
raged through the forest with multiplied fury, 
though little better fortune. 

The mass of the King's army had made the Wat- 
ling Street and were moving away. Colonel Stow 
had the ordering of the rear guard. Then a half 
dozen of his troopers, lingering to drink in Towces- 
ter, were overwhelmed by a wild charge of Colonel 
Rich's men, who, pressing on, ran their heads into 
a neat crossfire and were greatly mishandled. Nev- 



296 COLONEL GREATHEART 

ertheless, Colonel Rich had his little convoy of pris- 
oners and was not ill satisfied. 

In the end of the day, when Colonel Stow was 
sitting down to food in Paster's Booth, one of his 
men broke in, much damaged. Scraps of his shirt 
were bound about his forehead and his left arm ; 
he lurched in his walk. "You paid for that ale in 
Towcester," said Colonel Stow. 

"By God, sir, the others be like to pay more," the 
man cried hoarsely. "The butcher Rich, he would 
hang us all at dawn." 

"You .are drunken still," said Colonel Stow. 

"And I wish I were, for Billy Porter be one of 
them," said the man. "Sure, 'tis gospel, sir. When 
he lay up there beyond Towcester he had us parade 
in the farm-yard in front of him, and first he 
preached at us a while, and swore all the Bible down 
upon us, and then he bade us repent, for we should 
be hanged ere he marched, and the seed of the 
woman should bruise the serpent's heel, meaning 
you, sir. And then he made a horrid prayer on us, 
and, seeing his sergeant was a-listening mighty, I 
made a dive at he and upset he on the muck and 
the others, and mostly Billy Porter, being violent, 
too, there was a mighty to do, but it was only me 
won away, for I got first to the horses, and mighty 
good practice they made at me, too. And I would 
as lief be with old Billy Porter, I am sure." He 
was fairly crying for weakness and strain. 

"Feed him," said Colonel Stow to a sergeant. His 



COLONEL STOW IS SHOWN HIS DUTY 297 

officers were loud and profane in indignation. "An 
ill game, gentlemen. We will play our hand. Cap- 
tain Godfrey ! You will take a trumpet and ride to 
Colonel Rich and acquaint him that for each man 
of mine so murdered, I will hang two of his. I 
will give you a letter. Saddle, sir. Faith, gentle- 
men, war would be clean enough if only soldiers 
fought." While the others rattled their abuse 
noisily, Colonel Stow sat silent and heavy with 
thought. 

A while after he sought out his unhappy prison- 
ers, who lay upon straw in a shed. Colonel Stow 
stood before them between two torch bearing troop- 
ers, a grim vision of war to their helplessness. Hag- 
gard, unshaven faces loomed white at him. "Gen- 
tlemen ! I am forced to a cruelty I hate. Colonel 
Rich of your army hath four of my men prisoners. 
He swears to hang them for no offense but being 
his foes. This I can not suffer. I have warned 
Colonel Rich that if he will not observe the honor 
of war, I may not either. For each man of mine 
he murders, a man of his must die. Gentlemen, I 
pray God he may not put me to such extremity. 
But if he will — I warn you. Draw lots among 
yourselves. If my men die, four men of you die 
with the morning." 

He waited lest any should seek to answer. There 
was none. The Puritan temper knew no fear of 
death. They asked no mercy. They flung no taunt 
either. Colonel Stow looked keenly from one to 



298 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the other; one face made him linger long. Then 
he saluted and turned away. 

Soon his adjutant came to the stable, and picking 
out the parson, bade him come and speak with his 
colonel. Again John Normandy looked into the 
eyes of Colonel Stow. 

"I owed you more courtesy, sir," said Colonel 
Stow gravely. "If I had known you were the chap- 
lain we took, you had fared better." 

"You owe me nothing," said the minister. "You 
served me well, I would that you had served God 
so. 

There was a crooked smile on Colonel Stow's 
lips. He remembered what had chosen his cause 
for him. "Let it be, then. I have to speak of this 
matter of to-night, which, on my soul, I loathe." 

"You do well," said the minister. 

"O, understand me! I have no shame for what 
I do. If Colonel Rich would play the butcher, by 
butchery I must school him." 

"You do well," said the minister again. 

"What, sir?" Colonel Stow cried in amazement, 

"Man, man, do you think the children of light 
have less care for righteousness than you? Are we 
not shamed that a leader of ours should keep no 
faith with the helpless? I protest to you that if 
Colonel Rich does this thing, there are those in the 
host of the Lord will take such vengeance upon him 
as shall cause the ears of all them that hear it to 
tingle." 



COLONEL STOW IS SHOWN HIS DUTY 299 

"I hope it may be so," said Colonel Stow grave- 
ly, with no great faith. "Nevertheless, sir, I must 
do my part. If my men are murdered, there must 
be requital." 

"In the name of the most high God, so let it be! 
Let not Israel escape the sacrifice for their sin." 

"But you, sir, who are no soldier, but a minister 
of God, have no part in this. I do not war with 
priests. That is all." 

"What have I then done that you should be thus 
tender with me?" the minister cried with some 
scorn. 

It was some time before Colonel Stow answered. 
There were a thousand mingled memories of joy- 
ous devices and a ride in the springtime and hopes 
and laughter and virginal eyes. "I could tell you 
many things and no matter." 

"And I will not suffer this mercy," the minister 
cried. "I will bear my brothers' fate. Why, what 
vile thing were I, who preach there is no sting in 
death, to shrink from it? Nay, sir, you put me to 
shame. If you seek to be kindly, as I think, you'll 
make no more of this. I know the calling where- 
with I am called. Let me go comfort my brethren." 

Colonel Stow rested his head on his hand and 
stared at the fire. "I have done what I could," he 
said. 

The minister looked at him with a grave kindli- 
ness. "I would to God that thou wert almost and 
altogether such as I am, except these bonds," he 



300 COLONEL GREATHEART 

said. But it was not he wiio had the air of a pris- 
oner. 

Colonel Stow held out his hand. 

"Farewell, if it be farewell," said the minister. 
"Verily, before the judgment seat of God, I will 
protest you guiltless in this matter." 

Colonel Stow sat alone, looking at the failing fire. 
The thing moved him more than he could have be- 
lieved possible. It was an old necessity of war, 
and, though to him as to all soldiers by trade, it 
bore disgust, no matter to break the heart. The 
minister surely disturbed him out of reason. There 
was no profit in thinking of the past and the girl 
who cried for her father. The girl . . . the 
clean light of her eyes held him as of old . . . 
And the thing would have been easier if the minister 
had been a lesser man. It was_ an impertinence of 
him to be admirable . . . Well, there was at 
least the chance that Colonel Rich would be advised. 

Captain Godfre)'^ came in from his ride, and 
while he fumbled for a letter, answered Colonel 
Stow's questioning eyes. "Moon struck, sir. Dog 
mad. Wolf mad." Colonel Stow opened his letter. 

At Caldecote, 20th May, 1645. 
Sir — Yours to hand. I saw an angel standing 
in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying 
to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, 
"Come and gather yourselves together unto the sup- 
per of the great God, that ye may eat the flesh of 



COLONEL STOW IS SHOWN HIS DUTY 301 

Kings and the flesh of captains and the flesh of 
mighty men." 

God's will be done. I will smite and spare not 
and ye that bear the mark of the Beast shall be un- 
done in your iniquity. 

Let this be your answer. 

The minister of the wrath of the Lord, 

Nehemiah Rich. 

"Sir, this he gave me with more blasphemy than 
I can remember," said Captain Godfrey. "On my 
soul, he is beside himself. 'Fellow,' he says, 'to- 
morrow about this time your brethren in iniquity 
shall be even as they that Rizpah bare to Saul. Go 
to. Look to it. Repent!' and he gnawed at his lip 
and it was frothy." 

Colonel Stow sat pondering a while, then again 
he sought his prisoners. The calm murmur of talk 
fell as he came to them. They gazed at him from 
their straw, steadily through the lantern light, with 
no sign of trouble. "Gentlemen, I have to tell you 
Colonel Rich abides by his purpose. My men are 
to die, and four of you must make ready to die in 
the morning. Draw lots with yourselves." 

"We have chosen," said the minister's deep voice. 

"Which are they?" said Colonel Stow quickly. 

"They shall be ready," said the minister. 

Colonel Stow saluted. "Gentlemen, this way of 
war is not mine. I am sorry." 

"Fear not," said the minister. 



302 COLONEL GREATHEART 

While he came again to his fireside, he heard the 
prisoners singing: 

My table Thou hast furnished 

In presence of my foes ; 
My head Thou dost with oil anoint, 

And my cup overflows. 

Goodness and mercy all my life 

Shall surely follow me. 
And in God's house for evermore 

My dwelling place shall be. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX 

COLONEL RICH IS INTERRUPTED 

SIR Thomas Fairfax, who was dark and ruddy 
and of a goodly countenance, sat at his ease 
after dinner. To neither was he much devoted, but 
enjoyed both when he could. The lieutenant gen- 
eral was eloquent from the other side of the fire on 
the right reading of Jeremiah xvi:i7, and Sir 
Thomas Fairfax regarded him with a plaintive, rev- 
erent curiosity. 

There was an interruption from Captain Vere. 
"A young woman asks for the general, sir." 

Fairfax sat up. "With what purpose?" says he 
briskly. 

"O, sir, godly," quoth Captain Vere. " 'Tis a 
nurse with some petition about her father." 

Fairfax sat back again. He looked pensively at 
his lieutenant general and weighed the two evils. 
"Let her come, Dick," said he. 

Joan Normandy made her curtsy. Her face 
was worn and wan, her long gray cloak stained 
from the road. "If it please you, sir — " she began 
in a breathless hurry. 

"It does not please me till you sit," said Fairfax 
303 



304 COLONEL GREATHEART 

and rose to set her a chair and stood before the fire 
looking down at her with kindly eyes. 

She could not wait to thank him. "I am Jean 
Normandy, sir, and I follow after you to nurse the 
sick. My father, who is chaplain to the sergeant 
major general — " 

"Then your father is honestly a man of God," 
quoth the lieutenant general. "I have heard him, 
sir. He is savory. Go on." 

"Sir, he has been taken prisoner by the Royalists. 
I beseech you, give an order that he be changed 
against a prisoner of yours, for he is stricken in 
years and I fear for him in captivity. And, indeed, 
they say the Cavaliers are bloody men." Her voice 
swayed from note to note. 

"Be of good courage, child," said Cromwell. 

"Nay, take heart," quoth Fairfax. "They are 
foes, but they will not murder their prisoners, nor 
lay hands upon a minister of the Lord. For the 
rest — it shall be in charge. We will change him in 
the next parley." 

"But now, but now!" she cried. "He is not a 
soldier; he is not strong to endure their hardness." 

"Why," Fairfax looked at Cromwell. "We have 
no prisoners here in hand, I think," and Cromwell 
shook his head. 

"Yes, indeed. Only to-day Colonel Rich took 
some, I heard, and I have been to him already 
to beg him give them for my father. But he will 
not. He will hang them, he says." 



COLONEL RICH IS INTERRUPTED 305 

Fairfax stiflFened. Through the full, easy, kindly 
face broke hard lines. "Hang? Prisoners admitted 
to quarter? You are certainly wrong." 

"I can not be. I have come from him. He sv/ore 
that he would not spare one." 

"He deceives himself," said Fairfax and turned 
on the lieutenant general. "He is your friend, I 
think. Have you anything to say?" 

"Sir, I would have you forget that he is friend 
of mine. Why, sir, this is to be like Peter that 
was thirsty for blood out of all season. I pray that 
he be not even as Peter, which presently denied his 
Lord." 

But Fairfax was writing already : 

At Towcester, Thursday. 

Sir — It's reported that you have taken certain of 
the enemy, the which you purpose to hang. I am 
loath to believe it, being a thing abhorrent to 
Christian men. This Is to command you to keep 
them alive. You will further send 3. trumpet to the 
enemy, requesting an exchange for Mr. Normandy, 
chaplain to the sergeant major general, and use 
zeal to effect this. Report to me early in the morn- 
ing. 

T. Fairfax. 

To Colonel Nehemiah Rich. 

He turned to Captain Vere. "Get to horse, Dick. 
Ride out quickly. This shall serve you now, child. 



306 COLONEL GREATHEART 

all we can. In truth, I thank you heartily. You 
have helped me stay a vile thing." 

"Nay, sir, nay, 'tis I thank you, indeed." She 
curtsied from one to other of the two great men 
and was plainly in haste to be gone. 

"So. Go to your rest, child. You are provided." 

"Yes, indeed, sir," said she, and hurried out. 

Then Fairfax turned to Cromwell. "Sir, I pro- 
test, if this be true, I will have no mercy on your 
Nehemiah Rich. It's a damnable thing." 

"O, sir, let's not be quick to condemn. It is a 
godly man and a righteous, and if he stumble, it is 
by excess of zeal, whereof we can never have too 
much, seeing that the Lord's cause is in more of 
danger from them of Laodicea than all the heathen, 
yea, very principalities and powers, which are 
against it." 

"Zeal! The Lord's cause!" cried Fairfax. "I 
tell you, sir, I have heard of no man butchering his 
prisoners but the Papist Pappenheim. Shall we 
learn of him? I tell you while I command this army 
we shall make war like Christians." 

Cromwell leaned his head on his hand. "You 
say well, sir. I do protest you are in an honest, 
thriving way. Bear with me who am swayed by a 
carnal friendship, but do in all things approve your 
motions with a humble heartiness. O, sir, verily 
the Lord hath a poor servant in me, who put his 
honor second to a private kindness. In truth, I am 
a chief, the chief of sinners." He swayed in his 



COLONEL RICH LS INTERRUPTED 307 

seat and bit his lip till specks of blood lay upon it 
and his chin. 

Fairfax looked at his emotions with a patient 
wonder. "Why, you make too much of it," said 
he. "A friend is a friend, and why not care for 
him? But duty is duty." With which it appeared 
to Sir Thomas Fairfax, he had come to the con- 
clusion of the whole matter. But the lieutenant 
general was still a prey to emotions. Fairfax grew 
weary. 

There were moments when Cromwell inspired him 
with a vigorous suspicion. It was impossible for 
him to believe in passionate emotion over little mat- 
ters. A gentleman who professed to be in trouble 
about his soul because he made a mistake in tactics, 
was a hypocrite to the plain mind of Sir Thomas 
Fairfax. A gentleman who did continually accuse 
himself of weakness and sin, must be an unpleasant 
example of the braggart. And yet — and yet — 
Cromwell had never failed him, had served him 
with a perfect faith, though he must needs know 
which was the better soldier of the two of them. 
Ay, indeed, the man was a most excellent soldier. 
Fairfax, who knew war thoroughly, knew no match 
for this hysterical fellow, with his tears and his 
convulsions and outpourings of the spirit. Which 
was certainly most strange. Stranger yet was his 
power over men. That a fellow who was always 
troubling about his own soul should understand 
other men utterly; that a fellow who was always 



3o8 COLONEL GREATHEART 

talking of his own weak fears should master sane, 
sturdy minds and command their devotion; these 
things were a mystery to Sir Thomas Fairfax. "My 
Lord Fairfax," said his Grace of Buckingham in 
later days, "saw not far beyond his noble nose but 
what he saw he saw clear." 

Certainly Fairfax did not suspect the doings of 
Joan Normandy, and would have been as much 
surprised as ill pleased if he had seen her on her 
hackney pursuing his cousin Captain Vere down 
the Watling Street. There was indeed no great 
folly in it, for the outposts at Caldecote lay only 
a short two miles from Towcester, but Sir Thomas 
Fairfax had opinions upon propriety. Joan Nor- 
mandy was outside all that. She had no fear while 
she did no wrong. She could not bear to await un- 
certain tidings. She had been wrought too long. 
It was not her temper; it was not the teaching of 
war to rest while others served her. All which, 
more modestly, she told Captain Vere, when hearing 
hoofs behind him, he waited for what they might 
bring. Captain Vere, being near her own age, chid 
her in fatherly style, but could scarce bid her back, 
or, if he did, ensure that she would obey. More- 
over, they were already close upon Colonel Rich's 
quarters. So he brought her through the sentries 
and she waited anxiously in the dark of the vil- 
lage street while Captain Vere went to the cottage 
where the colonel lay. 

It is idle to pretend that the zeal of Colonel Rich 



COLONEL RICH IS INTERRUPTED 309 

was sufficient to make him well pleased at a dis- 
turbance of his first slumbers. He was in no way 
mollified by Fairfax's letter .and snarled over it at 
Captain Vere. "I see well that Shimei hath been 
before me with the general that I might be put to 
shame. Young man, be admonished. Evil men 
understand not judgment, but they that seek the 
Lord understand all things." 

"I understand the general requires you to obey 
in haste, sir." 

"How now! Shall I be taught by a child? Ver- 
ily, if a ruler harken to lies, all his servants are 
wicked." 

"Am I to take that answer back, sir?" 

"Nay, go to. I will see to it in the morning." 

"Now is late enough," quoth Captain Vere. 

Colonel Rich exploded in an allocution out of 
Jeremiah. Its full force was broken by pistol shots. 
Captain Vere ran out in a hurry. 

"What is it? What does he answer? What will 
he do?" cried Joan Normandy. 

But Captain Vere was not concerned for his er- 
rand or her. He stood with one foot in the stirrup, 
looking either way of the night. From either way 
came the swift thunder of horsemen, and Colonel 
Rich's troopers, half-dressed, half-armed, half- 
waked, were running to and fro, seeking their teth- 
ered unsaddled chargers. There was no time. 

Colonel Stow, meditating over his fire at Faster's 
Booth, had been inspired by the twenty-third psalm. 



3IO COLONEL GREATHEART 

Since his prisoners could take heart of that in their 
peril, it did not become him to surrender to fate. 
If they could endure with good heart, he must have 
good heart to act. He could not take back his 
word. For his men's death the Puritans must die. 
So much he owed to the regiment and the cause. 
But there might be a better way. It was a chance. 
But all war and life walked on the edge of chance. 
It was more than a cool head would dare. But 
the Puritan temper had struck fire from his. They 
should not show a stronger courage than he. Mr. 
Normandy should find that he possessed a soul, 
too. 

He sent for Captain Godfrey and the man who 
had escaped, and hammered out of them all they 
knew of Colonel Rich's quarters. Then he took 
two squadrons. 

You see them through flickering moonbeams, a 
long clattering line, ride by the Watling Street, 
where, straight as an arrow, treeless and white, it 
drives across the high ground. A keen wind beat 
at their faces. The moonlight flashed out and was 
swiftly hidden behind scurrying clouds; now they 
were in deep blue shadow, now bold against silvery 
light It was a night to mock men's eyes. 

When a black gulf before them marked the fall 
of the land to the Tove Valley they were halted and 
split in half. Colonel Stow had a quick parley with 
Sedley, the best of his captains, and himself led 
the first squadron away by the open turf to the 



COLONFX RICH IS INTERRUPTED 311 

right. A little while after, the sentries of Colonel 
Rich to the rearward, on the Towcester Road, where 
they feared nothing, were suddenly overwhelmed 
by a storm of horsemen, and while the night guard 
hurried to their aid, a second squadron fell upon the 
outposts of the other side and all defense was beaten 
in. The half-waked Puritans ran hither and thither, 
helpless, and Colonel Stow's troopers stormed 
through the village, riding them down. Colonel 
Stow understood the affair. The first mark of his 
men was the Puritans' horses. In few moments 
they had found the horse lines and the horses were 
cut loose and driven off in a wild mob. The rest 
was easy. The Puritans, unarmed for fighting afoot, 
taken unaware, had no chance to stand and were 
broken to dust. 

With the first wild charge down the village street 
Joan Normandy was whirled away and flung head- 
long. Even as she fell she heard a deep voiced 
roar above her: "Open out! Files! Open out!" 
What next she knew was waking to pain, dizzy 
with a hissing in her ears. . . . She was on 
horseback in a man's arms. His hand brushed the 
dust from her hair. A pale face bent to her, a face 
she knew . . . She cried out like a child in 
fear and tried to start away. But she was held fast. 
He took no more heed of her. She saw him looking 
all ways. Then he signed to a man at his elbow 
and a trumpet blared. Swiftly troopers began to 
rally about them. A man thrust through them 



312 COLONEL GREATHEART 

with authority. "I have all the rascals, sir," and 
she caught a glimpse of some fellows afoot. 

"I'll promise them tribulation," said Colonel 
Stow. And he signed again to the trumpeter. 

The street was full of troopers now, and sharp 
orders rang down the column. Soon they were 
upon the march again, moving swiftly through the 
night before a strong rearguard. 

Colonel Stow bent over her. She saw again the 
earnest joy of those dark eyes and her heart changed 
its beat. "This is a fairer prisoner than I thought 
for," said he, and his voice was glad. 

"Why?" she asked quickly, and blushed and felt 
his arm about her and throbbed with shame. "Ah, 
was it you who took my father?" 

"Even I," said Colonel Stow. He laughed. "And 
by my soul, I am not sorry for it now." 

"Why is that?" 

"My dear, he has made me admire myself to- 
night" Colonel Stow looked down at her with a 
whimsical smile, awaiting her righteous wrath at 
levity. 

But the first small puzzled frown was quickly 
gone. She gave a long happy sigh. Through the 
changing moonlight he saw the calm of her white 
face. "I am sure he is safe," she murmured. 

"And how art sure?" 

"You do not know much of yourself," said the 
girl, and her voice was slow with weariness. Then 




tjfc^-'-- ^' 



COLONEL RICH IS INTERRUPTED 313 

he felt her stay herself more easily against him. Her 
eyes closed. 

Colonel Stow was aware of a strange tenderness 
as for a child. He drew his cloak about her. 
Shrouded in it, she lay warm on his breast, hidden, 
save for the round white cheek. So they rode on 
at an easy pace and she slept in his arms. 

The wind was falling as they climbed to the hills. 
The moon sank out of sight. The dark stillness 
of the foredawn came over all. It was cold and 
they rode on, cloaked by a thin mist, like ghosts 
making homeward before the day. The men were 
something weary and there was little talk. Only 
sometimes a murmur of laughter mingled with the 
dull rattle of the march. 

Colonel Stow hardly knew himself. He rested 
in strange calm. There was no vivid feeling in 
him nor thought. Keen desire of the morrow's for- 
tune was gone. The eager mind sought no more 
into what might be. He possessed the present, and 
it sufficed. It gave him, indeed, no all-conquering 
joy. Once, in a ride through the night, he had 
known the wild beat of passionate life. That was 
past. Only he was greatly content. 

While the houses loomed up before him, while 
the column drew rein and broke, a line of gold 
flamed across the gloom of the eastern sky. Soft 
light grew about them and horses and men moved in 
it vague and vast. With the changing sound and 



314 COLONEL GREATHEART 

movement Joan Normandy woke and her misty eyes 
questioned. 

" 'Tis the dawn, child," said Colonel Stow. 

"O — the dawn — " she looked vaguely about her ; 
then her eyes came back to his. 

Colonel Stow swung down and carried her into 
his quarters. "Indeed, I can walk," she said, stir- 
ring in his arms, but he took no heed and she gave 
him his way. He set her down in that chair by the 
fire from which ho had faced her father and stood 
over her. It was strange to him that she asked 
nothing. Her gray eyes were intent upon him. 

"I will fetch your father, child." 

"Yes." 

Colonel Stow went out. A sergeant was sent on 
the errand. In the mellow light he met the min- 
ister eye to eye. 

"It is dawn, sir. We are ready," said the min- 
ister calmly. 

Colonel Stow was some while in speaking. "There 
is no need. I have found a better way. Sir, Colonel 
Rich will murder no men of mine. I have rescued 
them all, and Colonel Rich's regiment is broken." 

"Verily, the Lord reigneth. He is clothed with 
majesty," cried the minister. "O, sir, you have re- 
moved our reproach. You have been His instru- 
ment to-night to chasten them that dared do evil in 
His name." 

"Sir, the best is that you are safe. I will ask one 
thing of you now. Ride to General Fairfax with 



COLONEL RICH IS INTERRUPTED 315 

a letter from me to tell him Colonel Rich's manner 
of war and give him your own tidings of that you 
know." 

"I will do it heartily. Nay, then, but is not this 
a cunning way to do me a kindness?" 

"And if it were! Why, may I do nothing for 
you? But in truth, sir, consider, for the honor of 
your own cause as for the safety of my men, it is 
fit he hear the truth from one he can trust" 

"You say well. O, sir, you are too good a man 
for your cause. The Lord needs such as you. Nay, 
but who am I to judge? It may be He has His 
work for you here." 

"Which of us sees clear?" said Colonel Stow, and 
there was some bitterness in his tone. "But I have 
more tidingfs, sir. With what purpose, God knows, 
but I found your daughter in our surprise of Colonel 
Rich, and to save her from worse, brought her 
here. She is not hurt." 

"My daughter?" the minister gasped in astonish- 
ment. 

"Come and see." 

The girl rested at her ease. Her cloak was put 
off and the gentle light revealed the dainty fulness 
of her womanhood. She had tried to set some order 
in her hair, but it was wayward still, a wild cloud 
of gold. Life had come to her round cheeks again. 
Her dark eyes told of peace. Her bosom swayed 
slow. 

Colonel Stow stood with his hand clenching upon 



3i6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the door while he looked and her father passed be- 
fore him. 

She started up, dawn breaking in her eyes. She 
was in her father's arms. "Sweet heart," he said, 
and his voice shook. "Sweet heart" She hid her 
face in his shoulder. "Why, and how came you 
here?" 

"I am his prisoner," she murmured. 

"But what gave you to his hands? You were 
not seeking to be a prisoner, sweet heart?" 

She gave a strange little wild laugh. Then she 
looked up, thrusting the hair from her brow. "No, 
no truly. I was trying for you," and she told the 
story of her night. "And you — why, I suppose you 
were safe all the while, since 'twas Colonel Stow." 

The minister turned to Colonel Stow, who stood 
by grave and pale. Colonel Stow made a gesture. 
"Tell her." 

"I fell into the hands of a true man, child," said 
her father, caressing her hair. 

The girl smiled, and trembling a little, held out 
her hand to Colonel Stow. He looked down at her 
grave and intent and under his eyes she began to 
blush. His brow darkened, too. He took her hand, 
and bowing, held his lips to it long. 

"That at least — I have that," he muttered. Then 
with calm precision, "You must need rest, as we do 
all. Make these quarters yours. Before noon, I 
must send j^ou back to General Fairfax." He sa- 
luted and was gone. 



COLONEL RICH IS INTERRUPTED 31/ 

The minister, looking down at his daughter, saw 
her eyes grow dull and weariness draw over all her 
face. "Nay, you are worn out, child," he said, and 
led her to the settle. 

"I do not know," she said listlessly. 

He made her lie down with her cloak rolled for 
a pillow, and himself went out to take the good news 
to his fellows. But her cheeks were wet before she 
slept. 

An hour before noon the minister came to wake 
her. She rose with misty, dreamful eyes. "What 
is it?" she murmured. "Yes, I remember" . . . 
The noise of the mustering regiment was borne 
through the window. . . . "Where is he?" 

"Child, he sets me free and you, nay, and hath 
given me two of my friends to be our guard back 
to the army." 

"Is that all?" she said. 

"Why, what more could we ask or hope? Verily, 
he hath been most generous unto us." 

"O, yes," said the girl, ,and laughed a little. "O, 
yes." 

Her hood was dose drawn over her eyes as they 
rode away. She did not see Colonel Stow with his 
sword at the salute. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN 

THE KING TURNS 

WITH his kerchief tight about his arm and a 
bloody scrap of his shirt bound over his fore- 
head, Captain Vera came back to Sir Thomas Fair- 
fax. He had hardly told his tale, amid exclama- 
tions from the lieutenant general, before Colonel 
Rich was announced, who entered with rolling 
eyes, crying, "Sharp arrows of the mighty ! Yea, 
very coals of juniper! O, my threshing and the 
corn of my floor!" 

"Stop your fooling," the lieutenant general thun- 
dered. "Make your excuse!" 

"I find, sirrah, you have your deserts?" quoth 
Fairfax. 

"Yea, verily, I have lien among the pots. The 
earth mourneth and fadeth away. The inhabi- 
tants thereof — " 

"Where is your regiment?" 

"Even as chaff from the threshing floor which — " 

Fairfax raised his voice. "Guard! Guard!" 
and when the sergeant came in a hurry, "Take his 
sword, take him away." 

318 



THE KING TURNS 319 

"Break their teeth, O God!" Colonel Rich ejacu- 
lated and was hurried out. 

"Look to your hurts, Dick," said Fairfax to his 
nephew, and when he, too, was gone turned to 
Cromwell. "So much for zeal!" 

"You have me upon the hip, sir." 

And seeking a cool head, troubled by no godly 
fervor, they pitched upon Colonel Royston and sent 
him with his dragoons to the outposts, and slept 
sound. Truly, in the two armies they could hardly 
have found a man less fanatic or more devoted to 
the right rules of war. 

On the next day the minister came with this let- 
ter: 

To the Right Honorable Sir Thomas Fairfax, Gen- 
eral of the Army of the Parliament : 

At Faster's Booth, Thursday. 
Sir — There is in your army a Colonel Rich, 
which, taking my men prisoners in open fight, 
threatened after to hang them. To which I an- 
swered I would hang him two for one. I have not 
been constrained to this, having broken Colonel 
Rich to-night. This is to advise you that if others 
of your commanders attempt the like, we shall an- 
swer them .according to the custom of war, but I 
have no fear that Sir Thomas Fairfax will put us 
to such necessity. 

Your Excellency's servant, 

J. Stow. 



320 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Then the minister told his tale, and Sir Thomas 
Fairfax swore and was not reproved. "By God, 
sir, the man outdoes us on all counts!" he cried. 
"We are dunces to him in tactics and in chivalry. 
Who is he, this J. Stow?" 

And the minister told what he knew. 

"Faith, I am heartily sorry for him. It must be 
gall to a good soldier to stomach the King's strate- 
gies." Fairfax laughed grim. "And I could use 
a score of him. Why could he not come to us?" 

"Sir, I was granted enlightenment in last night's 
watches. The Lord designs true men to fight against 
His cause lest we that be His champions should sink 
in the wanton pride of our own natural sin." 

Fairfax clapped him on the shoulder. "By my 
soul, sir, it is a refreshment to hear a preacher de- 
clare a man honest who will not listen to him. So 
this J. Stow was a friend once of our Colonel Roy- 
ston, eh ? And we have matched friend for friend. 
There should be some pretty fighting in that." 

"Colonel Royston hath gone something beyond 
me," said the minister. His simplicity could not 
explain the wife. 

But fighting between the friends there was none. 
The King's army was hurried suddenly out of 
reach. Rupert had his own way for nearly three 
days and made as far northward as he could. His 
hope lay in the border counties, where the men were 
a hundred years or more behind the south and east, 
were still half soldiers in their daily life and thought 



THE KING TURNS 321 

a Puritan mad. He had not come much beyond 
Daventry when my Lord Digby brought forth a 
new plan as clear as Euclid and the King listened 
and tarried. The Eastern Counties, said my Lord 
Digby, were the great magazine of Puritan strength. 
To take that magazine was to strike the Puritans 
with palsy. Why, then, it was plain the army must 
march eastward at once. Quod erat demonstran- 
dum. 

So the campaign was changed and Rupert swore 
to the King's face they would all be damned for it 
and got nearly to blows with my Lord Digby and 
went off to drink himself drunk. The thing was 
plain folly to a soldier's eye, no less than driving a 
weak army against the strongest rampart of the foe. 
Not Caesar himself could have snatched success out 
of it. Rupert did not try. He threw up the game. 
He surrendered to despair. The army was let go 
its own way, and soon was a mere scattered horde 
of brigands. The ingenious Digby had no power 
to control the reckless troopers, and Rupert sulked 
and soaked in his tent. 

Tidings of it came to Fairfax and he made what 
haste he could. He might have flung his cavalry 
at the midst of the thin cloud of the foe and ended 
it with one charge. But he could hardly believe 
that the army was as ill ordered as his spies said, 
and he came cautiously. He had met Rupert fight- 
ing before, and he lingered for more strength. But 
at last, as Rupert sat by his wine in a tavern of 



322 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Daventry, the news came that the Puritan outposts 
were close in sight. He roused himself from the 
kindly stupor that eased the pain of his despair, and 
set men galloping with fierce orders to draw the 
army together. 

He was in time. The best of the scattered regi- 
ments could still obey him, and they mustered, heavy 
with spoil, In the old fortress of turf that crowns 
Borough Hill. The King was brought from his 
hawking in Fawsley Park, and with the Puritan 
full in sight and the peril of battle instant, Rupert 
had his way with him. They should march north 
again. It was the last chance, for they were out- 
numbered nearly two to one. So they made off by 
Market Harborough. But Fairfax was following 
hard. 

In the twilight of a summer's evening, Ireton 
dashed into the village of Naseby and caught a 
score of Rupert's horsemen at ease in their inn. By 
midnight Rupert knew that their vanguard was 
upon him. There was no choice but to fight. 

It was over high ground, treeless, broken with 
furze and rabbit holes, that the battle was set in 
the morning. The Puritans were posted upon a 
hill whose long open slope should spend the force of 
the fiercest horsemen. Their footmen were hidden 
behind the brow; their horsemen were upon either 
wing. In the like order, pikemen and musketeers 
in the midst, Rupert's horse on the right, Sir Mar- 
maduke Langdale's on the left, the royal army came 



THE KING TURNS 323 

on. But the King lingered with a reserve of horse 
and foot some way behind the chance of battle. 

No man ever denied the Cavaliers a relish for 
fight. They came with good heart enough, stead- 
fastly, like a moving wall of men, blue and green 
and white, pointed with a gray gleam of steel, and 
as they marched on with the wind that held their 
banners straight against the foe, the Puritans came 
forward over the brow of the hill a sturdy block of 
scarlet. They were singing: 

I in the Lord do put my trust; 

How is it, then, that ye 
Say to my soul, Flee as a bird 

Unto your mountains high? 

For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, 
Their shafts on string they fit. 

That those who upright are in heart, 
They privily may hit. 

Then Rupert, away on the right in his red mon- 
tero cap, very sparkish as was his habit in battle, 
set his horsemen to the trot, and with a thunderous 
roar of "Queen Marie!" they charged. 

The June sunshine was broken with dense white 
clouds. The earth quaked to the boom of the guns. 
But Fairfax had no faith in his raw artillerymen, 
and he was right. The guns' target was the sky- 
larks, and the Royalist footmen were within musket 
range before they had much to endure. 



324 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Rupert fell upon the Puritan horsemen where 
Ireton, the commissary general, had command, and 
to say truth had not his men in hand. For some 
regiments broke ground to meet the Cavaliers and 
fired too soon; some hung back, and Rupert, com- 
ing on at the best of his speed with squadrons locked 
knee to knee, crashed upon them in one mass, with 
one storm of pistol shots, and broke them utterly 
and hurled on in the chase. He was over the hill 
crest with the Puritans in wild rout before him; he 
was drunk with the spirit of the charge and mad 
himself as the wildest trooper, as the youngest 
horse, and he sped on after the rout careless of the 
main battle. 

Soon all his men were scattered, ranging wide 
over the moor in a hundred little forays. Here and 
there a colonel cried the rally and trumpets blared, 
but the most of them took no heed. Colonel Stow 
got a grip of the best of his squadrons. "By my 
faith, gentlemen, this is the way to lose battles," 
said he, and they formed again, and resting their 
blown horses, came slowly back to the main battle. 
Not without pain. There was a long hedge, part- 
ing the moor from tilled fields. While Rupert 
surged by. Colonel Royston, whose dragoons, ill 
mounted little men, could not stand the shock of a 
charge, took ground there, and the bushes were 
lined with shot. As the Cavaliers came back, they 
were taken by a flank fire. 

Upon the other wing the Puritans had been hap- 



THE KING TURNS 325 

pier. Cromwell held his troopers till Sir Marma- 
duke Langdale's horsemen were weary with toiling 
up hill, then crashed down on them and in one 
sharp shock broke all their strength. The charge 
was hardly won before his trumpets were sounding 
the recall and the sternly schooled troopers turned 
from executing the enemies of the Lord to form 
upon their standards. Three regiments Cromwell 
spared to press the pursuit; with the rest he turned 
to the main battle. 

There was a mad melee. The King's musketeers 
advancing had waited to fire but one volley before 
they fell on with sword and butt. They charged 
with the pikemen and the lines were locked in con- 
flict. With blind hacking and hewing, with sheer 
thrusting, breast upon breast in the press, the reek- 
ing, panting companies strove, and the fortune of 
the fight swayed to and fro. In the full of the gay 
June sunshine they were wrapped with an acrid 
cloud of powder smoke and dust and the reeling 
standards rose out of it weirdly. Skippon was 
struck down in the midst. The left of the Puritans 
gave round and there the King's men flung them- 
selves upon the second line. If Rupert had been at 
hand, Naseby fight could have had another end. 
But for Rupert, there were only the few squadrons 
with Colonel Stow, and though they charged their 
best, they were not weight enough to turn the issue. 
While they drew off, weary and spent, Colonel Roy- 
ston mounted his dragoons and ventured them upon 



326 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the broken ranks. They made no bad charge of 
it, and Colonel Stow brought only a remnant to 
where the King lingered with the reserve. 

Before that Cromwell had come upon the infantry. 
Hardly supporting an equal fight, the King's men 
were in no case to bear the shock of a hundred score 
Ironside troopers. Through the wall of pikes be- 
fore them they could not break. Against the swarm 
of heavy horsemen they could not stand. They 
were smitten like corn under the scythe. Whole 
regiments were struck with panic and cast down 
their arms and screamed for quarter, until but one 
stood unbroken. Then Fairfax, who had hacked 
and hewed like a common trooper all the fight 
through, came with his regiment upon their front. 
Cromwell charged them from the rear. The sturdy 
ranks went down in ruin. The army was all un- 
done. The King had no footmen left. 

And Rupert? Rupert's horsemen were over- 
spread half a dozen miles, each little party hunting 
its own prey. Rupert himself, with not much more 
than a troop, bore down on Naseby village a mile 
away, where Fairfax's train of baggage waited. 
Then the captain of the baggage guard, seeing one 
in habit like the general, in a red montero, as the 
general had, took him for Fairfax, and rode out 
to ask the fortune of the day. "So well that I'll 
give you quarter," cried Rupert. The Puritan with 
an objurgation out of scripture galloped back to his 
men and they welcomed Rupert with a volley. He 



THE KING TURNS 327 

had not enough men to hand for a charge. So at 
last he drew rein and thought of a rally. It was a 
life too late. When his horsemen began to straggle 
back into the battle there was but one army left. 

And the King? When Cromwell turned upon the 
footmen, the King had still his reserves to cast 
into the fight, had still the squadrons that had won 
back with Colonel Stow, shattered but daring yet. 
There was more than one man about him who cried 
with Colonel Stow, "Charge, sir, i' God's name, 
charge for your cause!" and the little brigade was 
ready. King Charles rode out to share their des- 
perate fortune, to dare for his own doom. But as 
he came, he saw on the hill above Cromwell's troop- 
ers storm deathly In the charge, and he faltered. 
Then a faithful courtier, my Lord Carnwath, 
snatched his bridle, crying, "Will you go to your 
death?" and the King, whose army was smitten be- 
fore his eyes, gave himself to a savior. "Files by 
the right!" cried my Lord Carnwath, and the King's 
guard bore him away. 

Colonel Stow looked after him with a crooked 
smile. "There goes the worst friend the King ever 
had," he said. 

So through the fall of that summer day the King 
rode hard in flight, and behind him men who cared 
more for his honor than he, spent themselves to save 
him. While the King, scathless of any mark of fight,, 
sat down to dine in Leicester, some few scattered 
troops of his horse turned and turned again in des- 



328 COLONEL GREATHEART 

perate charge to stay the surge of Cromwell's pur- 
suit. Utterly weary, bleeding and out of heart, they 
hurled themselves upon the Ironside ranks, desper- 
ate in their soldierly honor as the Puritans in their 
faith. They did their part. They saved their King 
while they cursed him. But when night fell there 
was hardly a man of them could call to his fellow. 

Reeling in the saddle of a stumbling horse, 
Colonel Stow drew rein in the dark. He had no 
man left to company him. All his regiment were 
spent and dead. He staggered to the shelter of a 
hedge and lay with the blood stiff upon his wounds. 

In a comfortable chamber at Loughborough, King 
Charles wrote a letter to his wife complaining of 
the conduct of his army. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT 

LUCINDA IS AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 

SLOWLY, by devious roads, the King and his 
guard won back to Oxford. Thither, difficultly, 
came a thousand or two of desperate, broken men, 
and a while after, the bulk of Rupert's horse. Sir 
Thomas Fairfax concentrated upon Thame, and 
made ready for a siege. Save in the very clash of 
battle, he was always leisurely. In truth there was 
little need of haste. The war was fought and lost. 
The end was sure. Only a few ingenious minds, 
like my Lord Digby, could think other. And no 
men ever called Sir Thomas Fairfax ingenious. 

Colonel Royston was in a thriving way. He came 
out of the battle with no small repute and from the 
pursuit with no small fortune. He had a Croat's 
nose for plunder. The Royalists had bled the mid- 
land towns white, and Colonel Royston took the 
profit of it. 

But he came back to win small thanks of Lu- 
cinda. She endured him and she made him suffer. 
He could always conquer her in a storm of passion. 
She could always make him smart with her con- 

329 



330 COLONEL GREATHEART 

tempt. "Ha, madame wife, do I not content you ?" 
he cried as he held her white in his arms. 

"What is there in you to content a woman?" she 
panted. 

That was the key of their marriage. If it be 
victory to make a man despise himself, Lucinda 
conquered. In his heart he knew that he had sold 
himself cheap. He had given honor and the quiet 
mind for a gust of pleasure like a weak girl. But 
that was the lesser pain. It irked most that he 
could not subdue her, that he could not make her 
do him service or respect. She dared treat him as 
a man of no manhood, and she could have done 
nothing to sting his fierce heart more keenly. But 
she got little joy of it. She was not, indeed, of the 
women who can feel shame. Her will, her passion 
of self, was too strong for her to convict herself of 
any evil. She could have sunk to the coarsest sins 
and known no remorse. Her desires ever held her 
absolved. But she had failed of the keenest passion 
of her life, and it gnawed still at her heart. To 
the end, I think, she loved Colonel Stow after her 
fashion. When she was crushed helpless in Roy- 
ston's arms, all her being ached and throbbed for 
that first lost caress. She, too, had her reward. 

It was on a thunderous July afternoon that Roy- 
ston strode into their lodging in Thame, with a 
"Well, wife," (that was the name that hurt her 
most) "I am the lieutenant general's dear brother 
in Christ." 



LUCINDA AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 331 

"And that is all you are like to be," said Lu- 
cinda. 

"What more of a husband could you want?" 

"I wonder what less I could have," she laughed. 

"You take your blunder with an ill grace, madame 
wife." 

"O, content you. I like to be your mirror. You 
writhe when you see yourself. It is only then you 
please me." 

Royston broke an oath at her. "By God, what I 
am you have made me." She leaned her chin on her 
hand and looked at him with steady, scornful eyes. 
"And what more do you want?" he cried. "You 
came to me greedy with desire. You have had your 
fill of that. You lack nothing of rich eating and 
soft lying. They are my jewels on your bosom. 
You have no soul for more. What more are you 
worth?" 

She laughed. "O, I knew you were brute when 
I ventured with you, but I thought you brute enough 
to be a master of others. And what are you ? Bah, 
there is no force in you. You are of the herd that 
follow the bell wether. You are but one of a score | 
of crop-eared, canting knaves, a common thing to 
be tossed aside when the war is done." 

"I am not so easily set aside, madame," said 
Royston, glowering at her. "You should know that. 
And mark you, there be scarce two men in this army 
can hope for better than I. Fairfax is a spent shot 
— a good drill master, a good squadron captain, no 



332 COLONEL GREATHEART 

more. The man with a grip is the lieutenant gen- 
eral, and his day is dawning now. There is but 
Ireton stands as well with him as I — " 

"O, yes, you were born for an underling," cried 
Lucinda. "Good fellow, ambition no more and you 
shall attain." 

Royston glowered at her and she laughed. He 
strode to her and gripped her shoulder in his dark 
hand. She looked up at him with steady eyes, but 
the laugh froze on her lips. He snatched her from 
her chair and crushed her to his breast. "By 
Heaven," he said thickly, "if I am an underling, 
you shall be lower still." He held her so till she 
was fighting for breath, then set her roughly down 
and strode out. . . . She heard the harsh ring 
of his laugh. 

So they lived. 

It was some while later, when the army was 
ready to close upon Oxford, that a stranger came 
to her in the twilight. He was peacefully attired, 
like a comfortable trader, but he had something of 
a swagger. Lucinda saw a dark, lean, scarred face. 
"Ha, Madame Weston," says he lightly. "To-day 
to thee, to-morrow to me." 

"You mistake me, sir," said Lucinda coldly. 

"Not I, madame. I am of your own tribe — a. 
bird of prey." 

"You are an insolent, sir," and she rose. 

"O, madame, do me reason. I would make you 



LUCINDA AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 333 

phrases if I despised you. I think you are strong 
enough for the truth." 

She hesitated and was lost. "What do you want 
of me, sir?" 

Colonel Strozzi sat down at his ease. "What do 
you want most in the world? I'll give it you at a 
price." 

Lucinda laughed. "So will the devil, they say." 

"Strozzi sells cheaper." 

"And what is your price, sir?" 

"Your bel ami, Colonel Royston." 

Lucinda looked at him curiously. "I think you 
can not know, sir, that I am Colonel Royston's wife." 

"O, has he married you?" said Strozzi with plain 
surprise. "I suppose they have prejudices here." 
He looked at her with a grim smile. "Which most 
requires my sympathy, madame?" 

"You are impudent, sir." 

"It is not my profession to be decent, madame. 
Well — though you are his wife, I can believe you 
command him" — he looked her lithe form over 
with an insolent, appraising eye, and laughed — 
"that is all I want." 

"And what do you want of him?" 

Colonel Strozzi smiled and tapped his teeth. "I 
can pay," he said. "Nor we'll not quarrel for the 
figure, neither." 

"O, you are vague as Grantorto in the romance*" 

"A woman of your habit might drink deep of 



334 COLONEL GREATHEART 

life for a five thousand pound." He watched her 
keenly. 

But she laughed. "And a man of your habit sell 
himself for a tester. What then?" 

"Why, madame, your virtuous husband is trust- 
ed. So he is worth a price. He commands the dra- 
gooners and they have the outposts. His price, you 
may say, is doubled. O, I am frank with you." 
Tapping his teeth again, he watched her from under 
level eyebrows. 

"Then, go on," said Lucinda, her eyes glistening, 
a smile about her lips. 

Strozzi considered some while first. "My dear, if 
you were a man I might be afraid of you." 

"Believe me, you have more reason now," Lu- 
cinda laughed. 

"Not a whit, pretty one. A woman is cheap 
steel. You can not bear the edge of a man. You go 
to flinders at a hard parry." 

"Try!" 

"I do not need. Your profit is with me, and you'll 
know it." He laughed. "Faith, what a team we 
had made together, you and L Fit for the devil's 
own driving!" 

"O, sir, you do me too much honor. Nor he nor 
another drives me." 

Strozzi grinned. "I would try my own hand for 
a crown. But this is woman's folly. To my affair 
now. Madame, this army of yours has too good 
generals. We could do well without them. There 



LUCINDA AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 335 

must be times when they meet together o' nights 
for a council. All we want of your bel ami, is to let 
a company of honest men through his outposts. And 
it is worth — ah — it is worth a five thousand pound." 

"Then it is not worth while," said Lucinda. 

"Is it not? Think of it." Colonel Strozzi rose. 
"I will wait on you in the morning. You'll need a 
night to work on my dear Royston. I kiss your 
hands and your feet." And he was gone. 

Lucinda sat in the deepening dark, curled to- 
gether, thinking. Colonel Strozzi did her wrong. 
Her mind outmatched his. 

Royston came in with a clatter and shouted for 
lights. She stirred in her chair. "What, wife!" 
he groped for her, gave her a careless kiss and felt 
her lips answer. "How now? Here is tender de- 
votion ! Have you the vapors^ madame?" 

"I think you are a boor in grain. And yet, good 
lack, I like you." 

"I know. It is my chief shame. Ha!" the can- 
dles came and they were both dazzled. "We are 
creatures of darkness, madame wife." 

She laughed. "I'll lighten yours, sir," and she 
started up and stood, her hands behind her, lean- 
ing a little towards him, a vivid temptation. 

Royston folded his arms. "Do you think I was 
made to fall?" 

"No, I was," she said softly, and softly stole to 
him and put her arms about his great strength and 
nestled against him. 



336 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"What do you want?" said Royston roughly. 

"You !" she whispered and laughed. "Yes, you 
as you will be! O, I have ached that you should 
rest one of the herd. But the chance has come now. 
Great things ! Ah, I have trusted you with all I 
am. Is it not?" Her fingers closed nervously on 
his. 

"Prithee, madame, be less romantic." 

"O, I can be clear as your head. So, sir — " she 
thrust him daintily back to a chair and set herself 
over against him. "Admire me!" 

"I never engaged to that." 

"The more pleasure to make you. Well, I have 
had a visitor." 

"I am not jealous, madame." 

"A fascinating fellow, one Strozzi." Colonel 
Royston straightened his back. "He has the good 
taste to want you, sir." 

Royston laughed. "Faith, madame, you are too 
prolific. One treason may pay; twins never did." 

"Have I spoken of treason?" 

"You spoke of Strozzi. He has corrupted half 
Europe. And would corrupt you, too, if it were 
not done already. By Heaven, madame, if you have 
mixed my name in any disloyalty, I will denounce 
you like a common spy." 

"O, sir, I was sure of your affection. Neverthe- 
less, you'll hear me out. He amused me, your friend 
Strozzi." 

Royston shrugged. "Birds of a feather." 



LUCINDA AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 337 

"You know me better than that," and she laughed. 
"I am something more than Colonel Strozzi. I 
think we may surprise him, you and I." 

"Go on with your surprises, madame." 

"Why, sir, he talked of a five thousand. And I 
think he would come to more than that." 

Colonel Royston put up his eyebrows. Money 
was four times more worth then than now. It was 
in his nature to love it for its own sake as well as 
for power. "This is some notable villainy," said 
he, and she watched his eyes. 

"I do not know if I saw it all the way," said Lu- 
cinda slowly. "But I am not sure it is your profit 
to serve him." 

"What! Madame Lucinda virtuous?" 

"O, sir, Madame Lucinda is not a fool. Hark 
you, then, here is his offer. On a night when the 
generals hold a council, make it safe for a party to 
come through the outposts and slay them. For 
which he will pay his five thousand pound, or more, 
as I think. I had not thought it worth so much." 

"Strozzi would not show you his whole hand, my 
dear," said Royston with a laugh, and chin on 
hand meditated. . . . "Humph, it can be no 
great mystery. With Cromwell and old Skippon 
down, we should make an ill show against a strong 
camisado. And the King has men enough to make 
one still. We stamped his footmen out at Naseby, 
but the best of his horse won away. That will be 
the design. Strozzi and a batch of bravos put the 



338 COLONEL GREATHEART 

generals down. Then Rupert breaks his horse on 
us. By God, we should be rabble. He would ride 
over us." 

"Is it worth a five thousand pound?" said Lu- 
cinda quietly. 

Royston, staring at her, rose heavily and began 
to pace the room. She watched him close and keen. 
She misprized him, as Strozzi had misprized her. 
He saw the whole chance of the affair in a moment. 
With the five thousand — and there might be more 
in it with care — he could make a brave figure in 
half a score of countries. The thing was «asy 
enough to do. He could manage it so that there 
should be no suspicion of him. Was it ugly ? Was 
it too dirty for a soldier? Ay, a year ago he could 
have answered that . . . Lucinda heard him 
laugh. It seemed a little late for foibles. He had 
been false to the only clean affection of his life. He 
had no more pride in honor. He had nothing left 
to follow but greed. And for what men said — 
why, Walter Butler, Judas of the man that made 
him, ruffled it with the best at Vienna. So, then, 
suppose it done, and Rupert's horsemen driving the 
Puritans like sheep. What remained for Colonel 
Royston in the rout? He had seen too much, he 
knew men too well, to believe the war might be 
ended so. One night of murder would not tame 
the Puritan temper. The struggle would go on even 
through despair. In the wild turmoil of it, what 
a chance for a man who could lead! Nay — 



LUCINDA AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 339 

He checked suddenly. He saw the vivid light in 
Lucinda's eyes that dwelt on him. He strode to her 
and laid a rough hand on her shoulder. "Madame 
wife, what was your design?" 

"I had thought your Strozzi might serve us." 

"Ay, you would be of the devil's side. How?" 

"By cheating himself, sir," said Lucinda and 
laughed. "O, you are not very clever, you soldiers. 
Shall I ever make you great, I wonder?" 

"Ay, in hell. Speak out!" 

"Why, then," her voice was low and happy, her 
eyes shone delight. "Let Colonel Strozzi come and 
kill. What hinders for you to come down on Colonel 
Strozzi? The generals are slain, but you have 
avenged them. There is an attack, but you have 
beat it off. You are left the best general in all the 
army, you with fame and power and something of 
money withal. Sure, sir, this Strozzi is a kindly 
gentleman." 

"And you are the devil's daughter," said Roy- 
ston with a grim smile. Then he rested his head 
on his hand and stared at the ground and she heard 
him muttering. . . . Do him justice. It was 
not the design for a man of little soul. There was 
something of devilish courage in it, and the confi- 
dence of the strong. By the tolerant ethic of his 
day and his trade, the thing was less vile far than 
to this nice age of peace. It was traitorous even to 
him, but at least there was nothing mean in it. He 
kept no retreat for himself. He set his own life on 



340 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the edge of danger. But for that, the thing had 
hardly allured him. It was no safe, no easy task 
to manage the murder and the neat slaughter of 
the murderers, to grip the army in an hour of panic 
and make order and break Rupert's charge. Roy- 
ston knew all the danger of it better than any man 
now. Even the affair of Eger, when on the windy 
February night the Irish made an end of Wallen- 
stein, was hardly more perilous. And he had much 
to lose. If he bade Strozzi go hang, if he stood 
faithful to his general, he had a notable place sure. 
Not first indeed. While Cromwell lived, he knew 
well enough, he had no chance of that ; whether the 
man were hypocrite or honest fanatic — and Royston 
had moments of doubt — he could commend himself 
to the Puritans like no other. There was Ireton, 
too. Royston's eager temper and that keen, silent 
mind paid each other an equal tribute of distrust. 
Still, he could win and keep a place not far below 
the first. It was no small thing in a land where the 
army must rule. He staked all that and life be- 
side on the chance of a chance. 

But if he won ! It might be hard to snatch the 
mastery of that army, but if he had it, no man 
should set him aside. The Puritans liked him well. 
He could be a savory member with the best. They 
would follow him through death. That army! 
What a tool for a strong hand ! The stanch yeo- 
man breed, wrought with discipline, edged with 
fanatic faith ! The vellow coats of Gustavus were 



LUCINDA AGAIN AN INSPIRATION 341 

no better. He would speedily make an end of that 
fools' war. He had as good an eye as Cromwell's 
for a fight arid for Cromwell's rashness and waste 
of men, a long prenticeship in arms. Soon the 
army must be master of all England, and if he 
ruled the army — what end, what end to power? 

He brushed his hand across his eyes. He rose and 
strode across the room and looked out at the dark 
a long while. Then he turned to Lucinda. "When 
is Strozzi to come again, child?" 

Lucinda ran to him laughing. She caught his 
hands, she leaned toward him, giving all herself. 
"You are alive! You are alive!" 

Royston looked down at the eager face that 
strained up to him. With a sudden passionate force 
he caught her in his arms, crushing her on his breast, 
lifting her, holding her to his will. And she clung 
to him and her lips were hungry. They had their 
hour. 

So in the morning, when Strozzi came, he found 
Lucinda ready to haggle. She did it well. Strozzi 
covenanted to pay three thousand pounds before the 
thing was done and four thousand after. She got 
a ruby coronet beside. He was very well content. 
It occurred to his Lombard mind that the first three 
thousand were all he would ever pay. And Lucinda 
was of just the same opinion. Strozzi went off to a 
quiet tavern by Crendon and there Colonel Royston 
met him and made a plan. 



342 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Royston came back to his lodging well content, 
and lifted her out of her chair to be kissed. "O, 
you are greedy," she said, resisting a little. 

"Why, madame wife has made a good bargain. 
She must get guerdon for it. So. So." 

Lucinda turned her head for his greedy kisses, 
listless. There was a shadow in her eyes. His rude 
desire made her remember dead hopes and joys of 
waking maidenhood. 

"A good bargain, has she not?" said Royston. 



CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE 

THE KING LOOKS THROUGH HIS FINGERS 

"T UD," said Molly, the cake girl, "yo" ^oo^^ like a 
-■— v last year's apple." 

"I feel as sound," said Alcibiade. The cheeks 
once ruddy and full were fallen lusterless and shriv- 
eled. 

"I hate men," said Molly vehemently as she 
thrust him into a chair and put a tray of gridle cakes 
under his nose. 

"It's a moral emotion," said Alcibiade with his 
mouth full. 

"If there were no men there would be no wars," 
Molly explained. 

"And equally no women. Behold the two delights 
of life abolished." 

"Am I like a war?" said Molly, her arms akimbo. 

"No, my dear, you are too terrific. Moreover, 
wars have an end, and you never will." 

"You are a pig," said Molly rather tearfully, and 
indeed had some excuse in his manners with her 
cakes. 

Alcibiade laughed. "Every good woman has a 
thousand children. O, understand me — in good 

343 



344 COLONEL GREATHEART 

deeds that never die. So she is many times immor- 
tal. With reason she appals me. Consider, Molly, 
It is a responsibility to have no end." 

"You are a goose," said Molly. "And where is 
my ardent lover?" 

"I am the whole ark of the late Noah. And 
want as much to eat. But for the .amorous Mat- 
thieu-Marc — alas, poor gentleman!" Alcibiade 
shook his head. 

"Good lack, he is not dead?" 

"Nay, mademoiselle. Only his trousers. Even 
in this moment he puts a patch on them for your 
sake. So much does he honor his beloved." 

"I like his way," said Molly, gurgling. 

"It is at least decent," Alcibiade agreed. 

"Bo," said Molly, pursuing the simile of the 
goose. "And how is your master?" 

Alcibiade became serious in the middle of a 
mouthful. "Molly, if one man could save an army, 
that man would have done it. Grand Diett!" he 
spread his arms to heaven. "My colonel, he is my 
hero, I have seen him magnificent in victory, but 
I should have not known his majestic, glorious 
splendors if I had not seen him in defeat." 

"What is he doing now?" 

"It is probable," said Alcibiade, returning to 
earth, "that he is smoking his pipe." 

In clouds of Virginia, Colonel Stow was thought- 
ful. The queer futility of his life occupied him. 
It seemed that he had been woven of vain desires. 



THE KING LOOKS 345 

What his soul chose to seek was ever proved mock- 
ing fantasy. He set his all on a woman and she 
turned to dust in his arms. He toiled for honor 
and power and when he earned them his cause had 
none to give. He fought to the edge of death for 
a King that proved himself base. Nay, the curse 
of waste was even on those who were linked with 
him. He made a rabble into a regiment of good 
soldiers only to fling them away in a fool's battle; 
made men of them to make them food for death. 

He did not rave against fate or curse himself 
or expend lamentations. That was not in his tem- 
per. With a quiet, melancholy courage he thought 
out all the failures. Still he had lost faith in him- 
self. He could feel his own strength still. If the 
mad battle of Naseby were to fight again, he could 
pray to do no better. Through all the folly of the 
war he took no blame. He had never played him- 
self false. . . . Ay, it was the wrong cause. 
He had chosen recklessly as a boy for a light wom- 
an's sake. Well — there w,as no profit in regrets for 
that. With all falling on ruin, a man had no more 
right to repent than to desert. Honor asked a 
whole heart for the last desperate fight. If it was 
fate never to win, a man might fail worthily. The 
King — the King who would not die for his own 
cause — it was quaint matter for a man's devotion. 
Well. For the silliest faith a man might find de- 
cent death. 

On which meditations intruded a letter. It was 



346 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the most polished note from my Lord Digby, beg- 
ging the high favor of a word. Colonel Stow went 
with some curiosity. He did not love my Lord Dig- 
by and had imparted his affection. 

Arrived in the anteroom of my Lord Digby's 
elegant lodging in Tom quad, he apprehended the 
honor more exactly. He made one of a notable 
company of scoundrels. My Lord Digby, it ap- 
peared, had been into the highways and byways, 
looking for filth and compelled it to come in. 
Colonel Stow surveyed them, smiling, and they him 
with some surprise. He found amongst them the 
most noted rake-hells of the army. "Vaughan and 
Price and O'Connor! Good morrow, fair gentles. 
Tom Blood and Geoghegan ! Sure, I have turned 
into Heaven by mistake. We only lack Strozzi to 
make the angelic choir complete." 

They snarled at him sulphurously. 

Colonel Stow yawned. "You are so stale. I 
think you are all as old as the devil and as dull." 

They made more noise. So that my Lord Digby 
was disturbed and sent a pale faced, clerkly secre- 
tary who rebuked them shrilly and called them all 
within. A result which happily accorded with 
Colonel Stow's intentions. He was left thoughtful. 
He had no esteem for my Lord Digby, and yet did 
not conceive him as a negotiator for bravos. In a 
little while the respectable troop came out, hats 
acock, swaggering, whispering, creatures of much 
importance. Colonel Stow bowed to them politely 



THE KING LOOKS 347 

and wished them a pleasant journey underground. 
My Lord Digby had before him a letter in Ital- 
ian, as thus: 

Illustrious — Muster my good boys for the 20th. 
All goes well. Our friend is bit. He is caught. He 
devises marvelous well. The enemy moved to-day 
from Thame and will halt at Albury. Wheatley 
is the next stage, where the good lord general lies 
at Holton House. Our friend will let him have such 
tidings as may make him call a council on the 
Wednesday night and set the outposts so by Forest- 
hill that our good boys may come through them. 
Let them muster beyond the lines an hour after sun- 
down. I'll be with them. Give the Palatine his or- 
ders to march an hour after that, to be upon Holton 
an hour after midnight and fall on when he hears 
pistol shots. And the devil prosper the work! It 
has cost a four thousand pound for our friend. He 
looks for as much more after. Put your tongue in 
your cheek. Salutations. 

Strozzi. 

Colonel Strozzi, you see, made his private profit. 
Now, what might have come of this pretty plot, 
where every man was false to every man, is pleas- 
ant matter for guessing, but the precise issue was 
determined by the ingenuity of my Lord Digby. 
Jermyn likened him to a terrier, because he could 
let neither well nor ill alone, and so far as he had 



348 COLONEL GREATHEART 

a character, there it is. The plan — leave Its ethics 
out of the account — the plan was ingenious enough 
and the success of its kind in Germany gave good 
hope. But my Lord Digby, having built it, must 
needs meddle with it. So having trusted Colonel 
Strozzi with the King's cause and his honor, he be- 
thought him that Colonel Strozzi was not to be 
trusted. So, afraid of the design, he let it go on, 
afraid of Strozzi, let him command, and where all 
for good or ill must be swayed by his brain, where 
he must be trusted altogether or no whit, would set 
another company to watch him and check him. 
Hence Colonel Stow. 

He was received with effusion. "Sir, there Is no 
man in the army I could be so glad to see," cried 
my Lord Digby. 

"That is disappointing," said Colonel Stow 
blandly. 

My Lord Digby was not touchy. "O, I know your 
wit, sir," he laughed. 

"I can not say the same, my lord." 

"So, having crossed swords, honor Is satisfied 
and we can talk sense. Nay, sir, this is the King's 
service." 

"I am at his, but not at yours, my lord." 

"We understand each other," said my Lord Dig- 
by, "and I know you for an honest man." 

"Imagine my reply, my lord." 

"Now, sir, can you find a score of others of your 
kidney? Stout, honest fellows," my Lord Digby's 



THE KING LOOKS 349 

eyes twinkled, "who'll suffer no craft from cunning 
folk like me?" 

Colonel Stow hesitated. He did not see his way. 
"Why, my lord," he said slowly, "no doubt there 
are men of honor we have not lost yet Are there 
none of your friends?" 

"Dear sir," said my Lord Digby, laughing, "my 
friends have too many wits to have much else. I 
want plain, honest men, good soldiers, who set their 
all upon the King." 

"There are enough of us who have done that," 
said Colonel Stow. 

"You can find a score of them?" 

"Why, yes, my lord. But I'll not move a hand 
for you without knowing more." 

"O, sir, I know you love me little, and perhaps I 
have little cause to love you. But I know what you 
are worth. I know you are trusty to the last and 
the best captain of horse we have. So I seek you 
out. The cause commands us both." 

"Well, my lord?" 

"You know Colonel Strozzi?" 

"Better than I desire." 

"Would you trust him?" 

"No more than I must." 

"It is my own mind. Sir, a great design has 
been entrusted to him." 

"Hang the fellow that did it, my lord," exclaimed 
Colonel Stow. 

"You think that?" said my Lord Digby, with 



350 COLONEL GREATHEART 

rising eyebrows. "Admirable. You are my man." 

"I can not conceive it," said Colonel Stow. 

"Look you, sir, what I want is a man who will 
watch him, a man with the wit to know if he prove 
a traitor and the courage to strike." 

"Well, my lord?" 

"Sir, a soldier of your service must know well 
that we are come to a desperate pass. It is not to 
be concealed that the King's fortune vibrates on 
the verge of the abyss." My Lord Digby smirked 
at his phrase. "The cure for peril is more peril. We 
dare what it's folly to dare because we dare no 
other. Now, sir. Colonel Strozzi had a plan full 
of the hazard of hope — " 

"And of the chink of coin?" said Colonel Stow 
politely. 

My Lord Digby was put out. "I never took him 
for Aristides," he said with some acidity. "Sir, it 
is plain to you that we are in no case to meet the 
army of the Parliament upon a stricken field. We 
must therefore seek out some design, some cunning 
strategy to set us an equal chance. This I conceive 
I have done." Colonel Stow, who had known ex- 
amples of my Lord Digby's art military, permitted 
himself a smile. "An army without leaders," says 
my lord with his wise air, "is but fools multiplied. 
The more fools be multiplied the less they are to 
fear. So, sir, it's my design to strike at the head. 
Every army has but one neck if you can find it. In 
fine, sir, I would jugulate rebellion at a stroke." 



THE KING LOOKS 351 

"If I count right," said Colonel Stow, "you have 
said the same thing five times." 

"Nay, sir, each time the import grows," said my 
lord with pride as a master of language. "In this, 
look you, Colonel Strozzi is our sword, but I would 
have you for our breastplate if the sword play false. 
Now the design is this — " 

Colonel Stow put up his hand. "My lord, am I 
so much your friend?" 

My Lord Digby laughed. "Dear sir, it's your 
surliness delights me." 

"I do not know that I have anything else at your 
service." 

"This is the King's service, sir." 

"Well, my lord." 

"A gruff, honest fellow of your breed is our need 
now. We have enough of supple subtlety in Strozzi. 
Now, sir, this is the matter. To-night Strozzi takes 
a score of his friends away to the rebel lines. He 
has tidings that their generals, Fairfax and the 
Ironside and young Ireton the lawyer, hold a coun- 
cil at Holton House. He has bribed their outposts, 
he swears, and can win through and end these sweet 
saints." ' 

"Even as Butler and Devereaux made an end of 
Wallenstein," said Colonel Stow. His eyes had 
grown keen. 

"It was indeed the exemplar," said my Lord Dig- 
by. "Here you have the marrow of it. Now, our 
fear is where our hope is — in Strozzi. He has had 



352 COLONEL GREATHEART 

money enough through his fingers to make him play 
double. Or the thing is worth enough for him to 
sell it to the rebels." 

"Ay, my lord, the man who will do murder is 
ever the man you can not trust to do it." 

"Why, the greatest murderer is the greatest sol- 
dier. Well, sir you see your part. We ask no more 
of you than to ride with Strozzi and see that he 
does his work. If you find him paltering with us, 
cut him down. Is it plain?" 

"O, plain enough, my lord. I can not tell why 
you should honor me so." 

"I protest, sir, it proves our value for you." . . . 
Colonel Stow's lips were set in a grim smile. . . . 
"And shall be followed by advancement," my Lord 
Digby went on with rising emphasis, "Well, sir, 
your answer?" 

"Be assured you shall have it," said Colonel Stow, 
and rising made his bow. 

"Sure, you men of action need no time for 
thought." 

"I have not said that we do." 

"Yet you delay? Well, have an hour, one hour. 
Remember your oath and the cause and the honor 
of the King." 

"It is my whole thought," said Colonel Stow, and 
went out. 

My Lord Digby sighed as a man of taste who has 
had to deal with the dull necessities of life, and re- 
freshed himself from a scent box of clear tortoise- 



THE KING LOOKS 353 

shell and took up a manuscript book of Mr. Wal- 
ler's poems bound in ivory. 

Colonel Stow made across the quadrangle to the 
lodging of the King. 

The King could give audience to no one. The 
King could be approached by no one. The King 
was at his devotions. Colonel Stow would wait. 
The usher shrugged at him. No man could tell 
when the King's devotions might end. Still Colonel 
Stow would wait. The usher hinted not obscurely 
that Colonel Stow was a fool. Colonel Stow asked 
for Captain Bourne of the King's Guard. 

Gilbert Bourne had changed much and might 
have been Colonel Stow's equal in age. The two 
met with a grave kindliness. "You are strange 
here. You are little of a courtier, I think," said 
Gilbert Bourne. "Can I serve you?" 

"I have that to say to the King which touches 
his honor nearly," said Colonel Stow in a low voice, 
glancing at the usher. Gilbert Bourne bade that 
long-eared gentleman out. They crossed to the mid- 
dle of the room, and, standing close, "There is a 
plan afoot which will shame him for ever," said 
Colonel Stow and looked keenly at Gilbert Bourne. 
But in his face there was little surprise. "I have 
been with my Lord Digby." Gilbert Bourne nod- 
ded. "For the King's own sake, get me audience of 
him." 

Gilbert Bourne turned without a word. He was 
gone some long while, but when he came back. 



354 COLONEL GREATHEART 

signed to Colonel Stow to follow him. The King 
was in his presence chamber, a long, dim lit room 
hung with somber tapestry. It made harmony with 
him. He had the black velvet and silver of melan- 
choly. His long scented hair was arranged in a 
sorrowful pattern, a thin jeweled hand hung in list- 
less affection over the open pages of Mr. George 
Herbert's Temple that lay upon his knee. He raised 
to Colonel Stow large liquid eyes of impotence. ,He 
drooped. 

Colonel Stow saluted soldierly. The King made 
languid answer. "May I pray your Majesty's ear?" 
The King inclined his head. Colonel Stow glanced 
at Mr. Ashburnham on one side and Gilbert Bourne 
on the other. "Sir, 'tis a matter of the royal honor 
and should be for none but you." 

The King looked at him with contemptuous won- 
der, then turned to Gilbert Bourne. "I thought I 
bade the gentleman speak, Gilbert?" he said wear- 

iiy- 

Gilbert Bourne signed to Colonel Stow. "It is 
your Majesty's choice," said Colonel Stow. "Sir, I 
am come to you from my Lord Digby — " 

The King waved a limp hand. "My Lord Digby 
has all our mind." 

"But do you know all his, sir? Sir, my Lord 
Digby has a design which will cover all your cause 
with shame." 

The King turned to Gilbert Bourne. "We can 
not suffer slander of our trusty friends, Gilbert." 



THE KING LOOKS 355 

"Nay, sir, yourself shall judge whether I slander 
him or he slanders you." 

"This is boorish, Gilbert," said the King, and 
leaned his head on his hand. 

"I am not to be stayed from serving you by a 
rough word, sir. My Lord Digby sent for me, and 
on my coming desired my help for an infamous ven- 
ture — " 

The King dropped his hand over his eyes. "This 
is not to be borne," he said wearily. 

"Ay, sir, it is not to be borne that he speaks in 
your name and in your cause. For he plans no 
less than a bloody murder. He has got together a 
party of bravos, he has bribed some villain of the 
rebel side, and he purposes to assassinate their gen- 
erals to-night. Sir, I know you can be nothing in 
it, but whether he stumble or succeed, all Europe 
will put the blame on you." 

The King looked through his fingers. "You are 
either very false or very foolish, sir." 

"li you doubt me, bring my Lord Digby to my 
face and see how much he can deny." 

"We do not need. We would not so insult my 
lord, who is all trusty." 

"By Heaven, sir, 'tis within the knowledge of a 
score. He broached it to me openly as I to you. 
I beseech you, confront me with him." 

"We are well assured of the loyalty of my lord, 
who is all for our honor," said the King in the 
same level, tired voice. 



356 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Ods blood, sir, do you want to be blind to the 
truth? I swear as God rules, my Lord Digby means 
to link your cause with a foul murder. If you value 
your ^lonor a pennyweight, search into it" 

"This fellow is insolent, Gilbert," said the King. 

Colonel Stow drew back. "Ay, shut your eyes 
to it, then," he cried. "Know naught of the vil- 
lainy till you can profit by it. By Heaven, the as- 
sassin that risks his skin is a better man !" 

The King started to his feet and stood mutely 
bidding him away, a picturesque figure of sad dig- 
nity, a saint scorning blasphemy. 

Colonel Stow laughed at him and strode out. 

Then Gilbert Bourne approached eagerly and fell 
on his knee. "I pray you, sir, I pray you, give me 
leave to ask — " 

"Nay, lad, nay, not now," said the King with a 
sad, gentle smile. "I have many matters." 

"But, sir, I pray you for this gentleman — " 

"Not now, lad. I must be alone with God." He 
patted Gilbert Bourne kindly and turned away to his 
oratory. 

Gilbert Bourne changed a shrug and a look of 
despair with Mr. Ashburnham and went out. 

Colonel Stow returned at some speed to my Lord 
Digby. My Lord Digby, who had beheld his move- 
ments through the window, kept him waiting in the 
anteroom. Colonel Stow smote with his sword hilt 
on the table and the pale secretary came in alarmed 
hurry. "Tell my lord that if I can not keep him from 



THE KING LOOKS 357 

being a villain, I will not help him," he cried. And 
my Lord Digby within heard and smiled. 

Colonel Stow had hardly come back to his lodg- 
ings before the Provost Marshal with a posse waited 
on him and escorted him to the prison in Bocardo. 



CHAPTER FORTY 

A CAVALIER DIES 

^ OLONEL Stow sat laughing. A cell in Bo- 
^-^ cardo was a quaint byway ending to it all. 

There was an elfish humor in things. He deter- 
mined upon death as the best career ; he set himself 
to be a respectable martyr for a silly cause, and, be- 
hold, the cause would have none of him save as a 
murderer. What would the next turn be? All things 
were possible where Charles was King. Perhaps 
when the plot was known, when England was cry- 
ing shame and a scapegoat needed, they would pitch 
on him for a hanging. That would be a harmonious 
end. 

What would come of it? Colonel Stow had an 
adequate distrust of Strozzi. He might be playing 
doubly, trebly false. It would not be the first time. 
Suppose him trusty, suppose him successful, and 
Fairfax and Cromwell done to death, what then? 
Doubtless the King would have an hour of vantage. 
Doubtless the Puritan army might be hurled back 
in chaos. But the hour would pass. It was not in 
Fairfax or Cromwell that the Puritan power lay. 
Fanatics were never beaten by their leaders' death. 

358 



A CAVALIER DIES 359 

They stood by their own strong faith. Ay, they 
stood by the weakness of the King. While the King 
was King his cause could never triumph. There 
was no victory for a man who kept faith with 
none, who told the truth not even to himself. He 
looked through his fingers. He was a liar in grain, 
and the impotence of the liar cursed his- cause. 
There was no question of the end. Soon or late 
the Puritans must trample him down. 

And then ? With some grim humor Colonel Stow 
imagined the Puritans marching down the Corn- 
market and Bocardo door battered open and him- 
self, something lean, coming dazzled to the light. 
So he had seen Tilly's Croats at Ingolstadt. But 
in a month they were riding again with Pappen- 
heim's black hussars. With him all would be fin- 
ished. The King cast him off, the Puritans would 
want none of him. If he sought fortune beyond 
seas, there was scant hope. The war was burned out 
in Germany. French and Austrian fronted each 
other still, but weariness laid heavy hands on them. 
The clouds of peace were gathering. Only England 
offered fortune for the sword, and England would 
none of him. 

It remained to creep home with the burden of de- 
feat. He winced. . . . There was some pain 
in that. He had bragged of high hopes; he had 
held himself for a man of power. Kind folks would 
remind him of it, and though they might be borne, 
with each petty day he would remind himself. To 



36o COLONEL GREATHEART 

be a quiet yeoman, to occupy with the cattle and the 
com ... he smiled at himself ... It 
was a farce of a tragedy. God save a lad from 
dreams! Long days in the tilth of the vale, long 
days after the ewes on the down, it was a dead life 
for a man who had charged Wallenstein's squares, 
who had held the surge of Cromwell's pursuit. He 
felt again the wild throb of peril, the glad call of 
death that wakes the soul to mastery. That, all that 
was gone. He was to be the prisoner of circum- 
stance. For him the life of an ox at stall. 

Ay, it rang a strange discord with dreams. He, 
who was a captain of men, came with impotent 
heart, limping home to hide in the corner chance 
gave him. Doubtless he had what he earned. 
O, doubtless, a fool had a fool's harvest. And yet 
— and yet — despair could not grip him so that he 
doubted himself a soldier. He had proved his 
strength. 

But he had played it false. He had wasted it on 
a carrion cause. Like a drunken man he had gone 
reeling after the first trumpet call. A drunken man 
»— faith it was the right name for him. He had 
been drunk with the poisonous desire of dreams. To 
love a woman well, to stake life upon her, must ever 
be wild fortune; it was plain ruin for a man to give 
his soul to the woman born of his own mind. With a 
grim smile he saw again the dream creature who had 
been the queen of his soul, her who was quick with 
every noble passion, utterly loyal to the right heart 



A CAVALIER DIES 361 

of life, and likened her to the real woman, throb- 
bing for nothing but the fierce greed of desire. He 
was unjust, but he did not yield to hate or seek to 
believe her formed of all baseness. That was not 
his nature. Only he saw her lithe form, instinct 
with eager strength, and felt what she had done for 
him and his friend. But for his friend he might 
have been merciful. He was man enough to set the 
brand of that treason on the woman. 

But he held himself in fault first and Last. It was 
not her blame that he asked more of her than the 
fair body which was all she had to give. It was 
his own choice to worship, his own choice to obey. 
Yes, God save every man from the woman of his 
dreams. 

He was curious to fancy what might have hap- 
pened if she had been other. But there had never 
been another woman and certainly there would be 
no other now. He felt himself old and bloodless 
beyond all desire. Still, it was amusing to make the 
might have been. Suppose that clean little Puritan 
lass — but she was a little cold for his temper and 
more than a little too righteous for his easy hon- 
esty. He was ill at ease with so many virtues. And 
yet a delicious child. Clear eyed, fragrant, like 
may in the dew. Yes. Clear eyed. There would 
be no cheat in her. For a moment he conceived him- 
self a Puritan. 

Then laughing, thanked God he was not. He had 
escaped at least the burden of sanctity. It was a 



362 COLONEL GREATHEART 

certain consolation. He remained a man. He dared 
do wrong. 

So he took counsel with himself while the last red 
light faded through the grating and died. They 
were not early with their candles in Bocardo. He 
sat some while in the dark before the bolts creaked 
and he heard a, "Zounds, is this how you serve a 
gentleman? Lights, rogue!" 

He knew that voice. In a moment he was blink- 
ing through the candle-light at Gilbert Bourne. 
"Well, sir?" 

Gilbert Bourne signed the turnkey away. "Go 
talk with your fellows below, knave," and drew Col- 
onel Stow to the far corner. "You are right, sir," he 
said in a low voice. "They do intend this damnable 
thing." Colonel Stow laughed. "Lud, can you take 
it so?" 

"Why, when I took it gravely, you saw what 
came of it. Faith, 'tis a fool that has a better con- 
science than his King." 

"Sir, the King is misled by ill counselors." 

"O, do not believe it. He'll find none worse than 
himself." 

"I must believe it. And we must save him." 

Colonel Stow looked round his cell. "I have done 
my part, I think," he said with a sneer. 

"I know you better, sir," cried Gilbert Bourne. 
Colonel Stow looked at the lad with a new interest. 
His face was exalted, like a man's glad to ride his 
last charge. 



A CAVALIER DIES 363 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "He chooses to be a 
knave. Let him wear the brand." 

"He is the King," said Gilbert Bourne, and 
Colonel Stow laughed at the reverence in his voice. 
"O, sir, we can not hold him guilty. He is blinded 
by villains. We must save him from the shame of 
it." He laid an earnest hand on Colonel Stow. 
"Sir, you have felt it as I. We must go on." 

"Faith, I think I went some way," said Colonel 
Stow with a grim laugh. "I have my reward. If 
you want more, go to a gentleman outside Bocardo. 
I tell you plainly I have no more will to help you 
than power." 

"I know you better, sir," said Gilbert Bourne 
again. 

"By Heaven, you know too much for me," said 
Colonel Stow angrily. "If you mean anything, tell 
me what you mean." 

"Believe me, I am all your friend," said Gilbert 
Bourne, gently enough. "There is a debt . . . 
come out of your prison now and help me save our 
King." 

"O, for your King — ^there is no man to save him. 
Kill the King and his cause might conquer. Look 
you, sir, I have given him all my strength and this 
is the end of it. He may carry the mark of hell 
for me. And for myself — I had as lief be nothing 
in the blackest prison as nothing under the bluest sky 
of heaven." 

"A man's not nothing while there Is work for 



364 COLONEL GREATHEART 

him," said Gilbert Bourne, and Colonel Stow looked 
at him strangely. The lad dared be stronger than he. 

"Where is it?" said Colonel Stow. 

"Come with me now. I have told them I come 
to take you to the King. There are horses in wait- 
ing behind St. Aldate's. We will ride to Holton 
and tell the Puritans the King has tidings of a mur- 
derous, treacherous attack intended and hath sent 
us to give them all honorable warning." 

Colonel Stow let out a laugh that rang true. 
"Conceive the Royal gratitude!" But Gilbert Bourne 
did not laugh. " 'Thank you for nothing and my 
honor,' quoth his Majesty. O, he will put up a Te 
Deum for his trusty servants. I would go for the 
joke of it But lad, this will be no easy thing. We 
have to outride Strozzi's babes and pass them. And 
I do not know — but there must be some attack in 
force to follow on the murder. The roads will be 
dangerous." 

"I know I need you," said Gilbert Bourne simply. 

Colonel Stow was already buckling his sword. 
"Why, I am a fool that jumps for a chance of ac- 
tion. And a moment ago I thought my blood dead ! 
Well. But I know what you are doing for me, lad." 

"I — remember," said Gilbert Bourne unsteadily. 
"Come." He led out and down the dark, broken 
stairs. At the foot an escort of a corporal and two 
men lounged, chattering with the gaoler. 

"By your good leave, sir," says the gaoler, com- 
ing forward, "will you sign my book here?" and 



A CAVALIER DIES 365 

while Gilbert Bourne was writing, "and will you 
bring un back to-night, sir?" 

"The King's service governs all, my friend," said 
Gilbert Bourne. 

In a moment they were marching with the escort 
swiftly down the Cornmarket. At Gilbert Bourne's 
quarters in St. Aldate's they stopped. The 
escort was bidden wait at the door. Colonel Stow 
went in by the front door and out at the back. There 
were horses saddled in the lane. 

Gilbert Bourne had the password. They were 
across Magdalen bridge with hardly a check. As 
they turned by the Wheatley road they heard the 
cavalry mustering in the river meadows, and 
changed a glance. "We'll be between them and 
Strozzi's babes," said Colonel Stow, and laughed 
irrelevantly. 

"Strozzi is half an hour ahead. Where shall we 
pass him?" 

Colonel Stow laughed again. " 'Tis all a mad bus- 
iness. What will you give for your life?" 

"If we save the King — " 

"Who desires damnation." 

"O, sir, you wrong him. He is in the hands of 
evil counselors. He is of a noble heart. In a better 
hour he will give us thanks. It is but the villains 
who have his ear. Sure, sir, it's our part to give 
all for his honor." 

Colonel Stow smiled to himself at this desperate 
loyalty. But, "God save you, lad," said he kindly 



366 COLONEL GREATHEART 

enough. "I'll do my share." He admitted no debt 
to the King, But the humor of preserving the royal 
honor against the royal will attracted him more and 
more and the wild adventure had its own charm. 
So they rode on knee by knee up Shotover. 

It was a dark, heavy night and the horses labored 
wet against the hill. Not a leaf moved above them, 
not a sound came. Even their own din was muffled 
in the chill, dank vapors. The sky was a low, nar- 
row vault of gloom, unbroken by a strand of star- 
light. 

"Fit night for murder and camisado," said Col- 
onel Stow. "Strozzi has luck." 

"Who knows?" quoth Gilbert Bourne. 

Colonel Stow, peering at him through the gloom, 
saw the eagerness of his face. 

They breasted the hill top and .after a moment 
broke to a gallop again on the level plateau. The 
air seemed to move at last. It bit keen at nostril and 
eye. They made speed. Here on the hill the night 
was clearer. They could see the gray ribbon of 
road some way ahead. But no sound came. Strozzi 
held them fairly. 

They were close upon the farther slope, already 
through the trees they caught glimpses of the abyss 
below, when Colonel Stow cocked his head aside. 
"What was that?" he said sharply. But Gilbert 
Bourne heard nothing. It was a moment more till 
a sound came clear. 

"We are on them," cried Gilbert Bourne. 



A CAVALIER DIES 367 

" 'Tis the last thing we want," said Colonel Stow, 
and checked and drew aside. But Gilbert Bourne, 
heedless, dashed on. 

A rough voice cried "Milano?" out of the gloom. 
"Milano?" It was plainly a password. Gilbert 
Bourne had no answer. Two horsemen plunged at 
him. Colonel Stow saw the white flicker of their 
swords. He drove in his spurs and charged. But 
before he came, Gilbert Bourne was down and the 
two reining round. He got his point home in on«, 
but the fellow kept the saddle and broke away. 

Colonel Stow leaped down to his friend. He could 
bear no help. There was a grim wound in the lad's 
throat and already he lay in a pool of blood. "On !" 
he gasped. "On! You now! For — for the King!" 
and even as Colonel Stow, all hopeless, tried to close 
the wound he moved a little and sighed and was 
still. 

Colonel Stow stood over him with grim, set face. 
O, the King owed life a debt! How many men had 
fallen for the honor of him who cared nothing for 
honor? Poor lad, with his desperate loyalty, with 
his faith in a faithless king, his life for a false 
dream . . . 

Colonel Stow caught the dead man's pistols, 
sprang to the saddle and made off' down hill at a 
mad pace. If time might serve, the King should 
have no profit of this baseness. 

But close behind came the boom of Rupert's hur- 
rying squadrons. 



CHAPTER FORTY-ONE 

WIFE AND MAID 

'T^HE sunset light was coming to an upper cham- 
-■- ber in Thame. There David Stow's wife, Joy, 
setting new roses in a great blue bowl, belied her 
name with sighs. The room was neat and spotless as 
the white linen at her neck, but, her roses ordered, 
she could not be content with it and looked narrowly 
over the light oak wainscot and put the settle and 
the great leather chairs anew and took the pewter 
salvers down to put them up again. 

To this business came Joan Normandy, grave and 
pale from the burden of her nursing. Joy ran to 
her with a little glad cry. "O, you come kindly. I 
was beginning to be sad." 

"My dear, I come to be made merry," said Joan 
with her grave smile. 

"You are very good for me, because you make me 
feel sinful," said Joy, and compelled her to the 
pleasantest chair and took her gray cloak from her. 

"Am I a Pharisee, then?" 

"Joan! It is wrong in you to make so little of 
yourself. If you have no assurance of salvation, 
how can we dare?" 

368 



WIFE AND MAID 369 

"We'll not match ourselves, dear," said Joan gen- 
tly. "And, indeed, I think 'tis not assurance but 
works that make one happy." 

Joy watched her with ,a wise, tender smile. "How 
can I dare be sad?" she said half to herself. "I 
have only parting to bear when God's work calls 
him away. And you," there were tears in her eyes, 
"dear heart, you have not even begun to be happy 
yet." 

"Have I not? You are grown wise, Joy. And 
yet — were you not happy the old days — ^before?" 

Joy laughed a little softly. Her eyes were aglow 
with a glad, pure wonder and joy. "Ah, telling 
tells nothing," she said. "Dear, it was blind life, 
a halt life to this. Indeed, till you have given your 
life away, you can not live, I think. I never knew 
I w,as anything till I was all his. And now — Joan, 
to be rich and give !" 

"Yes," Joan said. She was lying back in her 
chair and her face hidden in the shadow. 

The sunlight was changing and failing and the 
crimson of the roses grew dark. Joy took one from 
the bowl and came to lay it against the broad white 
collar that fell over Joan's heart. "Some day," she 
said softly. "Some day." 

Joan's hand closed on hers with sudden strength. 
"No," she murmured, and laughed then. " 'Tis a 
white rose for me, dear." 

Joy drew away a little and looked down at her 
with grave, pitiful eyes. She began to speak and 



370 COLONEL GREATHEART 

checked herself. "I'll believe in the red rose," she 
said. "God never meant women for maids." 

Joan was near as red as the rose. "Is a woman 
only a woman?" she said in a strange, stern voice. 
"Has she no soul above that? Sure, beyond this 
world there is neither marriage nor giving in mar- 
riage, nor men nor women." 

"Is that what it means?" said Joy with a kindly 
scorn, such as a mother might use to a foolish 
child. 

"Dear, I would not despise your gladness," said 
Joan so sagely that a little reckless, nervous laugh 
broke from her friend. "But God does not design it 
for all women, I think. I am not made for — for — " 
^ delicate color stained her brow. "I could not give 
all of myself, indeed. Ah, do you know how I 
shrink from it?" Joy laid a gentle caressing hand 
on her shoulder, but she drew away. "Yes, yes, it is 
right, I know. But it is horrible to me. I am not 
made for that. I must possess myself. I can not be 
true to God else." Her voice rang queerly and there 
was fear in Joy's eyes. Come from maid to wife 
with no sorrow, she did not know this passion of 
womanhood turned against itself. "Nay, but I am 
a sick fool to talk so," cried Joan between a laugh 
and a sob. "Tell me of Madame Joy's joys. Has 
the good man ever a will of his own now?" 

"My dear!" said Joy, who had no jest ready. 

"O, I vow he is mighty obedient." 

Joy was demure. "Nay, dear, there is no obed- 



WIFE AND MAID 371 

ience in marriage. The desire of one is the desire 
of the other. You have to make him see that." 

"Poor soul!" said Joan. "And what has he 
made you see?" 

"That I am the most wonderful creature in the 
world," said Joy. "Because he is." 

"You are wise." 

" 'Tis the one thing he never called me." 

"The poor gentleman is hard put to it. If he 
calls you wise to love him — " 

"He says that water is wet" 

"Nay, he sings his own praises." 

" 'Tis the same thing." 

"And therefore idle. But if he saith, 'Fool to 
love me—' " 

"It would be plain folly." 

"And slander of you. Which is the same thing 
again. So like a wise husband, he keeps h's tongue 
behind his teeth." 

"Indeed, he does no such thing!" cried Joy with 
indignation. "You see," she smiled, blushing, "you 
see I have to be told so many times." 

"It argues want of faith," said Joan. 

Joy laughed. "It argues — " she faltered, "it ar- 
gues — " she flung her arms wide and stood so. "Just 
that." 

But afterwards in the dark when Joan was gone 
she sat and cried for the maid's lonely heart. To 
her gladness that fierce passion for maidenhood was 
of all things most miserable. 



CHAPTER FORTY-TWO 

THE NIGHT ALARM 

"PVEN as Colonel Stow started away down the 
■^ — ' hill side, Rupert's vanguard shouted a chal- 
lenge from behind. He took his horse on at a mad 
speed, but broke from the track to the open turf on 
his left. By the sound Strozzi's men were well be- 
fore him, but there might be more of their rear 
guards. Rupert's men kept the road, striking 
straight for the heart of the Puritan army. Strozzi 
had borne away toward Shotover pond and Colonel 
Stow, following hard, saw at once the gray glimmer 
of it and far down the road the gleam of fires in 
the Puritan outposts, Rupert's goal. Still Strozzi 
held the same swift pace. Plainly he feared no trap. 
He trusted the traitor who was to let him in. 

It seemed he was right. Colonel Stow, riding 
reckless, drew close upon him and saw his troops 
break unchallenged over the cross-roads and up 
the grassy slope beyond and turn sharp and plunge 
into the wooded demesne of Holton. The trees stood 
like vague, dark ghosts. Strozzi's men broke their 
ranks and checked perforce and checked again. But 
Colonel Stqw held on. The lights of a house twinkled 

372 



THE NIGHT ALARM 373 

through the gloom. Strozzi's men drew together 
again, reined up and dismounted. A few were left 
with the horses. The rest made a scurry for the 
house. Then Colonel Stow drove his spurs home 
and asked the last strength of his horse. 

He broke into them just before the door. He 
rode some down before they caught his bridle and 
slashed at him and his horse. He let off a pistol 
at the nearest head and roared, "Guard! Turn out, 
guard!" Orderlies came running out of the house 
and he heard the spit of an Italian oath and Stroz- 
zi's voice hissing, "On, bullies, on !" His horse 
shrieked to a vicious thrust and stumbled. He flung 
himself from the saddle, firing again as he fell. 

His shots echoing across the dark were mightily 
answered. Around them far and near the pickets 
woke with musket flash and rattle and trumpets 
pealed. The army roused with a mile long din, 
clatter of steel and hurrying tramp. It was time. 
The thunder of horsemen grew and the air flamed 
yellow, and there came the dull rolling roar of 
fight. Rupert struck home. 

On the threshold of the house the Puritan order- 
lies made stand and Strozzi's men hurled at them in 
a mass. Colonel Stow staggered to his feet and 
thrust into the midst, crushed, sweating, cheek to 
cheek. In the dark, in the frenzy of that mad me- 
lee, none knew him from another, and striking from 
below with short sword craftily, he slew men who 
cursed their comrades for the deed and died. So by 



374 COLONEL GREATHEART 

the space of their dead bodies he won on through 
the press. He must to the front! If he were to 
serve, he must to the front, and the fortune of the 
night walked upon a sword's edge now. Reckless, 
ruthless, he panted on. 

The orderlies held the doorway gallantly a while, 
but they were overborne by the storm of steel and 
slain. Trampling them down, the mad troop surged 
on. A sturdy door brought them up short. Strozzi 
and the foremost hurled themselves upon it in vain. 
Then, with bare sword, Strozzi beat the crowd back 
to get room for a run, yelling many things in Ital- 
ianate English. All together they dashed at the 
oak and Colonel Stow, locked close with the rest, let 
off his third pistol at a venture low into the midst 
of them. He saw Strozzi's livid face turn as they 
crashed on the door and in the shriek of the tearing 
timber heard him hiss, "I'll flay the hound who has 
done that firing." The great door failed before them 
and whirled back, and pell mell, all staggering and 
falling, they hurtled into the hall. 

There was no light now, save from the fire. Be- 
hind a barricade of table and chairs, the generals 
stood to arms. Strozzi's men found their feet and 
stared and held off, muttering. Colonel Stow re- 
membered that silent moment of shame; old Skip- 
pon with the sleeve drawn back from his fat arm, 
breathing noisily through his mouth as he made his 
sword quiver; Cromwell towering above him, the 
coarse, fat face distorted with the anger of battle, 



THE NIGHT ALARM 375 

and the red flame light falling queerly on his gray 
eyes; Fairfax, plainly by his swordsman's poise, the 
best man of his hands of them all, with a quiet 
smile on his lips and his eyes; Ireton, keen and 
calm, with a strange frown of wonder and puzzle; 
and before them the score of sweating, foaming bul- 
lies, faltering, fearing the attack. 

Strozzi cursed them vehemently. "Passion of 
Christ! You are five to one, fools, five to one! 
Have at them ! Blood ! Blood !" and he dashed at 
Cromwell. No one ever called him a coward. For 
a moment he fought alone with the four, but so 
fierce was his fury, he took no hurt, and ,a red line 
grew dark and darker on Cromwell's neck. At 
sight of that there was a mad shout and the bullies 
charged forward together. Colonel Stow, swept on 
in that brute charge, heard Cromwell's deep chested 
laughter and fired his last pistol into the nearest 
head. While the acrid smoke was still about him, 
while Strozzi yelled : "Will you stick that fool with 
the pistols?" it seemed that he heard a cry 
from without answer the shot. Then men turned 
swords upon him and some knew him and broke into 
fierce, wild oaths and though the dead man was his 
buckler, he hardly kept them off" a moment. The 
burden and the press were too much. With scarce 
one wound, by force of blunted thrusts, he was borne 
down beneath the dead, and trampling on them both, 
spurning them, the bullies charged on to their prey. 

The generals were in sore case. Skippon was 



376 ' COLONEL GREATHEART 

bleeding ^nd failing and Ireton the lawyer, too; 
Cromwell reeked and panted in the stress; only 
Fairfax held his own, smiling still, and fought on 
like Bussy or Bayard. But from without came loud 
the thunder of galloping horsemen. Cromwell drew 
back from the medley of steel a moment, and shouted 
in the voice of his battles: "Who is on my side? 
Who?" 

Deep and exultant the shout came back: "The 
sword of the Lord!" 

Strozzi sprang out of the fight with an oath and 
turned to run. The others had no more heart. In 
a moment they were pushing out in a wild mob as 
they had stormed in. Some of the first were in time 
and broke away to their horses and fled all ways, 
like rabbits, but the most of them came full upon 
the rush of Puritan troopers and fell like grass to 
the scythe. There was no mercy. "Spare them 
not!" cried the captain. "Utterly destroy!" and 
they were hewn down, and red with blood, the troop- 
ers broke into the hall, and fell to stabbing the 
wounded and the dead. Cromwell clambered up 
the barricade and sat himself on it and looked at 
the butchery and laughed, and wiping the blood and 
sweat from his neck, broke out with a hoarse chant : 

The Lord's my light and saving health, 
Who shall make me dismay'd? 

My life's strength is the Lord; of whom, 
Then, shall I be afraid? 



THE NIGHT ALARM 377 

When as mine enemies and foes 

(Most wicked persons all) 
To eat my flesh against me rose, 

They stumbled and did fall. 

But Fairfax, with a sharp order, checked the 
ghastly slaying of the slain. The captain grumbled 
something of the Amalekites. "But a live Amale- 
kite would be most useful," said Ireton, the Lawyer. 
He had the candles lit again and began to look the 
bodies over. Under the fellow whose head he had 
blown in. Colonel Stow was found, wounded and 
bruised and still half stunned. "Ah. The gentle- 
man of the pistol," said Ireton with interest. With 
cold steel on brow and spine they brought him to. 

Old Skippon, who had got back some of his 
breath and his wits came puffing forward with a, 
"Captain Evans, Captain Daniel Evans, in the name 
of God, what is the firing at Wheatley?" 

"The Philistines came upon us in force, sir," said 
the captain. "I know not the issue. Major Har- 
rison, when he heard the firing here, dispatched me 
unto you." 

"Ah, the firing," said Ireton. 

"Now, this is a damnable thing," cried Skippon. 
"They would murder us before the attack." 

By this time, Colonel Stow was tottering on his 
feet, and looking all round him with dull eyes. 

"There is the craft of the man of blood in it," 
cried Cromwell. He turned to Fairfax. "O, slr> 



378 COLONEL GREATHEART 

let's to horse speedily. We do the Lord wrong to 
glory yet!" But as he marched to the door his eyes 
fell upon Colonel Stow and he checked suddenly, 
staring. There was something familiar to him in 
that face. 

And then Colonel Royston came striding over the 
dead. He had no doubt of Strozzi's deed. There 
had been fair chance and full time. He thought 
himself supreme. He was all ready to snatch com- 
mand. ... In one swift glance he saw that 
he had lost, that he had sold his honor for nothing, 
that peril was close about him. He did not fail him- 
self. Not a muscle moved in the strong dark face. 
He saluted Fairfax. "Sir, this is surely the Lord's 
doing." 

"And it is marvelous in our eyes," said Ireton, 
regarding him benignly, 

"Sir, I thank God for your escape. Faith, the 
whole cause hath been in much danger. I have had 
the whole of the enemy's horse upon my posts at 
Wheatley." 

"And have ye beat them off?" cried Sklppon. 

"Sir, the Lord's a good help." 

"O, sir, let's give Him all the glory !" cried Crom- 
well, clapping him on the shoulder. 

"I shall try," quoth Royston. He heard some 
one laugh, and turning, saw a draggled, dirty fel- 
low in the grip of two troopers. Their eyes met. 
They were away in the world of the real. Their 
souls dealt together unveiled and quivered with re- 



THE NIGHT ALARM 379 

gret and scorn and shame for the lost sure faith 
and love. 

Cromwell fell on his knees and began to pray 
loudly. 

But among them all, Colonel Stow alone bore his 
head unbowed. 



CHAPTER FORTY-THREE 

MOLLY PROPOSES 

T N the publicity of the Cornmarket Molly em- 
-^ braced Matthieu-Marc, whose emotions were 
rather decent than grateful. 

"But, mademoiselle, nay mademoiselle," he cried, 
extricating himself with energy, but with difficulty. 
"I assure you I do not deserve it." 

"But you have been working for my sake, sweet- 
heart," quoth Molly, languishing at him. 

"Not at all. I have been mending my breeches." 

"Sure, that was for my sake," and Molly re- 
garded them with affection. 

Matthieu-Marc fingered the patch nervously and 
nervously looked from it to her. "It does not chime 
with its background," he admitted. "No, it is cer- 
tainly not beautiful. But it is necessary." 

"Like me," said Molly, and set her cake basket 
on one arm and tucked the other into his and pro- 
pelled him with her toward Carfax, like a jolly, 
round body of a woman parading a reluctant scare- 
crow. 

"My pretty," said the reluctant Matthieu-Marc, 
"this is not seemly." 

380 



MOLLY PROPOSES 381 

"Fie now!" cried Molly. "You would not make 
me do unmaidenly, would you? A kind gentle- 
man!" 

"Indeed, I would not," Matthieu-Marc protested 
with tears in his voice. 

"Why, then," says she generously, "I'll never be 
ashamed with you, dearie." 

"You will understand," said Matthieu-M,arc un- 
easy in her vigorous arm, "that my situation is in- 
vidious." 

"Sure it is sweet in you to say so," Molly mur- 
mured and leaned on him affectionately. Matthieu- 
Marc groaned. 

They were then hailed boisterously by a shaggy 
sergeant of Sir Marmaduke's regiment. "What, 
Molly ! Who is your prop ?" 

"This is my new husband, bless him !" cried Mol- 
ly with pride. "See how happy he is!" 

"Ods bones, it would take two of him to make you 
a husband." 

"But it needs only half of me to make him a 
wife, so I am in spirits. Am I not, sweetheart?" 
She turned to the hapless Matthieu-Marc. But he 
fairly fought himself free, and sped round the cor- 
ner. 

"Good lusty fellow," the sergeant cried. 

" 'Tis his breeches, poor soul," said Molly, and 
returned to business, and after so fair an advertise- 
ment sold many cakes. 

She was going home to fill her basket again when 



382 COLONEL GREATHEART 

she saw Colonel Stow borne by the provost mar- 
shal to Bocardo and stood agape. When the posse 
came out she was still there. "Lud, master, what 
hath he done, poor soul?" says she to one of them. 

"Made a face at the King, lass !" 

"Sure a cat may do that" 

"But he is none, being no woman." 

Then Molly's trade suffered, for she was more 
zealous in seeking Alcibiade than in selling cakes. 
But Alcibiade, who was indulging a mind that 
loved the rural and a body that loved running wa- 
ter by a walk over the meadows to bathe in the 
Cher at Marston, was not found till sundown. Lan- 
guid and very peaceful he sauntered down St. Giles 
to meet a warm effervescent Molly, who upbraided 
him without reason given ; stated that he was a fool 
to care about his master; that his master was six 
times as good as he; that his master was in prison 
for cursing the King; that there was nothing to be 
done, and he had better do it at once instead of mak- 
ing love to dairymaids. 

Through all which Alcibiade preserved a calm 
that exasperated her extremely. When she had ex- 
hausted herself, he sauntered on with his original 
ease. At the gate of Bocardo she beheld him in 
jovial converse with the gaoler and swore she hated 
him. But presently his pace down the Cornmarket 
was quicker. 

Alcibiade had little luck. From the gaoler he 
learned that Colonel Stow had been taken away by 



MOLLY PROPOSES 383 

Gilbert Bourne. Outside Gilbert Bourne's quarters 
in St. Aldate's he saw an escort under arms and 
by them was told that Colonel Stow w,as within. He 
went in. But again he was too late. The rooms 
were bare. He did not publish the news. Some of 
the fact he guessed at once. Captain Gilbert Bourne 
helped his master escape. Tit for tat. There 
was but one way of escape — off to the Puritans. Al- 
cibiade did some varied drinking with sergeants and 
quartermasters and learned the password of the 
night. Then he took himself and a horse out over 
Magdalen bridge and away. But he was still out of 
luck. He had not gone two miles when he came upon 
the rear of Rupert's horsemen. He could not pass 
them. There was naught to be learned of them. 
He loitered with the rearguard, trying to find some 
reason in it all. 

When they crashed on the outposts at Wheatley, 
when relying on a traitor commandant, politely 
ready for defeat, they charged the main camp, they 
hurled themselves into a trap. Colonel Royston 
had been careful. His dragooners enfiladed them at 
close range and shattered them utterly. Alcibiade 
held aloof. It was no affair of his. But he did not 
reckon on the full greatness of the disaster. The 
fresh squadrons Royston hurled at the shattered 
ranks swept them back like dust before the wind, 
and in the rout Alcibiade was caught and ridden 
down and lay with many another in that ghastly 
harvest of Colonel Strozzi's ingenuity. 



384 COLONEL GREATHEART 

It may be doubted whether he suffered that night 
as much as Matthieu-Marc. Matthieu-Marc, being 
a cook, was a person of imagination and emotion. 
You conceive his manifold feelings when an angry 
patrol beat out Colonel Stow's quarters and in two 
short minutes he learned that his master had been 
cast into prison, had got out of it and vanished. He 
sought Alcibiade half the night through and found 
nothing of him either. He wept; he abused Alci- 
biade for the good fortune of sharing his master's 
woes, and wept again. 

The morning brought worse tribulation. Rupert's 
battered, decimated horsemen poured into the town 
to brag that they had been betrayed. Soon the 
busybodies of Oxford — or trace it if you will to my 
Lord Digby — put facts together to make a tale and 
presented Colonel Stow as an infamous traitor, the 
very murrain of the King's cause. Matthieu-Marc 
had to hear it. He expressed his immediate emo- 
tion by knocking a scrivener's head against the 
tavern wall, and after, in the meditations of soli- 
tude, performed the like operation for his own. He 
was tumultuously distressed. 

You are not to suppose he believed anything 
against his master. It was the vision of a slander 
attacking his master's nobility that moved the foun- 
dations of his soul. 

He was a cook in grain. If he fell an easy prey to 
the higher passions, he had a keen zeal for the prac- 
tical. Now, Colonel Stow had fled, but left his goods 



MOLLY PROPOSES 385 

behind him. Since they called him traitor, they 
would soon lay hands upon his goods. Plainly it 
was necessary to get them out of Oxford. And 
whither? There was but one place — the father's 
house at Stoke Mandeville. And when the prop- 
erty was lodged in safety, a man could seek out its 
master. Matthieu-Marc began to pack. 

In the course of daily business, Molly heard from 
troopers who loved sweets that they were beaten 
and Colonel Stow a traitor. "Lud be kind," quoth 
Molly. "It needs no traitor to beat you." Concern- 
ing Colonel Stow she had truly no opinion. Treason 
and war were children's games that did not interest 
her. She believed in him for other matters. And 
she had her own reasons for wanting to know where 
he was. She sought out Matthieu-Marc. 

He was in Colonel Stow's quarters. He was filling 
bags and baskets. "Lud a mercy!" cried Molly. 
"What art doing?" 

Matthieu-Marc with every desire to tell a He felt 
circumstances against him. "I — I arrange our pos- 
sessions," he said. "I — I dust them." 

He was horrified to observe Molly subside upon a 
basket with distorted countenance. She emitted a 
wail. 

"My pretty soul !" he protested pathetically. "This 
is quite unnecessary. Tell me in what way you are 
111?" 

"You are going to leave me," Molly lamented. 

"Alas ! Mademoiselle, I say alas ! I mingle my 



386 COLONEL GREATHEART 

tears with yours. But we must bow to destiny." And 
he cheered up. 

Molly took her hands from her rosy face and 
looked at him. The sight appeared to increase her 
grief, for she ran to him and cast her arms about 
his embarrassed neck. "O, I can not bear to let you 
go. Can you bear to go from me?" 

"Not in the least," said Matthieu-Marc, keeping 
as far off as he could. "But I have to. I have to 
go to my master." 

"And how can you think to get all that gear past 
the sentries?" cried Molly, who, being at least half 
a cook, had her share of the practical mind. "Why, 
they call your colonel a traitor in every alehouse. 
They'll seize every dud of his. They'll strip you 
bare as a worm." 

"Let them essay!" cried Matthieu-Marc, and, 
shaking her off, struck a martial attitude. Then 
reflection came to him, and he relaxed and regarded 
her dolefully. 

"Where will you be going, my dear?" said she. 

"To his father's house by Stoke under Aylesbury. 
And then to find himself." 

" 'And then to find himself,' " Molly repeated in 
a low voice, and laughed. Then she clapped her 
hands, crying, "I've a plan! I've a plan!" 

Like most of the higher strategy, it was simple 
enough. The miller's man from Sandford, who sold 
Molly flour for her cakes, had a kindness for her. 
("Another unhappy!" groaned Matthieu-Marc.) He 



MOLLY PROPOSES 387 

would be in Oxford with his wagon that day. Col- 
onel Stow's goods could go under the tilt, Colonel 
Stow's horse be ridden by the miller's man. Mat- 
thieu-Marc could ride under the tilt with the bag- 
gage or slip out alone. 

Matthieu-Marc, who had the cook's distrust of 
other people, elected for the tilt, and so it was done. 

All went smoothly. The good folk of the inn 
winked at the wagon and the miller's steed, but they 
were friendly enough. Matthieu-Marc hid himself 
effectively — it was not hard for his girth — and with- 
out challenge they passed the bridge. All had gone 
smoothly as a butter sauce, thought Matthieu-Marc, 
when he heard with stupefaction the jovial voice of 
Molly. 

Peeping under the tilt he beheld that buxom maid 
sitting comfortably on the shaft. She was hooded 
and girt for a journey. A bundle and staff reposed 
beside her. The miller's man, crying to the wa- 
goner at the head of the team, ranged his charger 
alongside. "Do 'e tell, now, Molly," said he, "who 
be the furriner?" 

"Sure, who should he be?" cried Molly. "Would 
I come for any other man? 'Tis my blessed hus- 
band." 

"Haw, haw," quoth the miller's man. 

Matthieu-Marc tore his hair. 



CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR 

FRIENDS 

"X^ 7HEN the last word was said to Cromwell's 
■ ' prayer, when he rose with shining face, it 
was Ireton who thought it worth while to give spe- 
cial charge that Colonel Stow should be well guard- 
ed. Royston looked out of the corners of his eyes. 
Colonel Stow was bound on a lame horse and borne 
away through the night to Thame. Skippon, that 
tough veteran, jogged off to see Royston's disposi- 
tions and go the rounds. Cromwell and Fairfax 
let themselves think of sleep. But Ireton still peered 
about among the dead. 

You'll not envy Colonel Stow that night. Per- 
haps it was the best of his fortune that his body 
cried out against him for weariness and pain. So in 
some measure the turbulent misery of his mind was 
curbed. But he was whining to himself of his ill 
fortune; shame for his weakness burned into him, 
and he felt himself branded with dishonor, dying a 
villain's death. He cursed all men and arraigned 
God. 

Doubtless he had not lost all. He had spoiled the 
devices of King Charles. Against all odds he had 

388 



FRIENDS 389 

won that fight. It was something of achievement 
to take down to death. But he had paid for it dear. 
O, there was a malign mockery in fate. Every 
chance and change of circumstance fought against 
him. When he ventured his all for an honest cause, 
when he worked the Puritans' safety, he must needs 
appear their assassin. The facts condemned him. 
No truth could save him, for who could believe the 
truth ? Nay, for all the world he was damned as a 
villain. He who pretended to honor and the soldier- 
ly heart was proven no better than a hired murderer. 
He must be that to all who knew his name, father, 
brother, comrades, friends, a vile shame to them all. 
It hurt him ludicrously. He had many a year con- 
ceived himself matter for pride. He let himself 
laugh like a man under the knife. The good souls 
for whom he had strutted in a showy chivalry — - 
God save them! That Puritan parson's daughter, 
who thought him a kind of god . . . that 
girl of the pure brow . . . would she be at 
the hanging? At least she would know him for a 
gaudy hypocrite and a villain. 

It was a sweet, comfortable thought. But he 
made it come again and again, for it hurt less than 
the rest. The rest . . . Ay, at least he 
might have been spared George Royston's eyes. 
That stung beyond other pain. What he had lost — 
life and all else; what the world proclaimed him; it 
irked little beside that, having no honor to wear 
before the friend who had betrayed him. A bravo 



390 COLONEL GREATHEART 

of the camp, a hireling for murder; he was that to 
Royston and the woman . . . the woman. He 
seemed to hear them laugh together. Lucinda was 
not merciful . 

Mercy! God, he was fallen low to think of 
mercy from her! But he was crushed with shame. 
They would sneer at him for as ready a traitor as 
themselves without the wit. Fool, fool, fool! O, 
God be good to a man who wants respect from 
other men ! He had set his soul upon that. Though 
he fought for a failing cause, ay, even if his own 
designs blundered and went awry, he had been 
proud of bright honor, resolute to guard it to the 
end, and in that resolve glad of life. Glad! He 
laughed at that, so that the Puritan guards rebuked 
him for a lewd man of Belial. 

O, doubtless, he had done nothing unworthy. His 
honor was bright still for his eyes. What use? 
What profit for a man to be honest only for his own 
soul? With each nerve jarred and torn by the night's 
wild chances, with his mind sick of effort and the 
rack of strife, he felt common hatred crushing his 
heart out, peine forte et dure. He was weak, O ay, 
he was weak. Pray God for the refuge of the weak. 

Surely there was no hope of good in life. i^U 
things conspired against him with devilish craft. 
When he did good work, it was broken by another's 
folly. When he would keep his cause from villainy 
he was hurled into the mire of it. When he would 
save his foes from death they branded him a mur- 



FRIENDS 391 

derer. No hope, no hope, save to be out of it all. 
Was God God indeed, or the devil, in this world 
where good bore the fruit of vileness? 

Raving so, half mad, it may be, with the body 
pain and weariness and the impotent rage of his 
baffled mind, he was borne through the coldest hours 
of the night. The Puritans flung him into the town 
lockup at Thame and left him lying on a truss of 
straw. Sleep came soon, but a feverish sleep with 
a devil's dance of dreams. 

The other gentleman whom you might suppose 
most troubled by the chance of the night was in no 
such case. Colonel Royston had seen all his hopes 
go down the wind. His generals had contrived to 
keep alive, and he was but their trusty servant still, 
and like to stay so. A man could not play such a 
game twice. The chief command was out of reach. 
Between him and it stood three lives at the least, 
each as good as his. But he did not rage. He took 
the turn of the dice with a shrug and a silent 
oath or two at Strozzi's bungling throw. One mat- 
ter only troubled him — the situation of Colonel 
Stow. He was surprised to find his friend in such 
an affair. To him, indeed, it was no vast villainy, 
but he could not well conceive Colonel Stow taking 
it so lightly. There was no doubting his eyes. Colo- 
nel Stow had been in it, and being a person of im- 
portance must know all about it. That reflection 
worked upon Colonel Royston. 

If you expect emotion of him, you will be much 



392 COLONEL GREATHEART " 

disappointed. It was in the nature of the man that 
he should not stop to feel when there was need of 
thought and action. Only twice in his life, I think, 
a passion bore him away from the plain, practical, 
profitable task, and for each time, it may be, he was 
afterwards sorry. His first concern was to secure 
his own safety. But he had his feelings. If he 
could contrive Colonel Stow's as well, he would be 
the better pleased. 

Since Jerry Stow had been fool enough to be 
captured, there would surely be some inquest on 
him. In that was danger. He knew all, and it 
might well be for his profit to tell all. Colonel Roy- 
ston felt himself on the edge of an abyss and looked 
down at it calmly. You should do him justice. He 
would venture something for his friend. But his 
own danger was instant. Once he thought of a 
trick to set Colonel Stow free that night. It was 
alluring, for so he linked their fortunes, so he 
served both, so with a fair appearance of friendship 
he provided for himself. But he dared not. He 
was too near suspicion already. What then? Sup- 
pose a court martial met and Ireton's lawyer brain 
at^vork. All the plot was like to come out. Colonel 
Stow could have no profit in telling less than the 
truth. Himself had been taken in the fact. He was 
not likely to spare others. Nay, why should he? 
Royston sneered at himself. Faith, the man had 
small reason for kindness. It should be some pleas- 
ure in his ruin to drag Royston down, too. 



FRIENDS 393 

Colonel Royston confronted the situation a while, 
hunched together over a camp-fire, and at last saw 
a way. He lay down in his cloak and slept at peace. 

You find him early in the morning standing over 
the straw that made Colonel Stow's bed. His strong, 
dark face moved queerly as he looked down at that 
storm wracked body — the clothes all dragged awry, 
slashed and stained, the matted hair, the blood and 
filth on the bruised cheek. . . . He set his 
hand on Colonel Stow's shoulder. It moved wear- 
ily. Colonel Stow turned over ,and looked up at 
him with heavy, dull eyes, muttered something, 
stretched his limbs painfully and staring still at 
Royston, sat up on his straw. "Well?" he said in 
.a listless voice. 

Colonel Royston sat down beside him. 

He laughed. "Faith, this is a condescension in 
the soldier of the Lord." 

"O, I am not come for jests," cried Royston. 

Colonel Stow laughed again on the same high 
note. "I'Gad, I am sorry for it. There is much 
matter of jesting here." 

"Look you, Jerry. I know well enough I have 
dealt scurvily by you. I can not give you the past 
again. By God, I would that I could — " 

"I thank you, O, I thank you. Pray enjoy the 
present." 

"Enough of that. Man, think where we stand, 
you and I. We are both on the brink of peril." 

"Both? What has your majesty to do with me?" 



394 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Zounds, why will you talk like a fool of a wit? 
You can make me smart, I'll allow you that. You 
have the right, too. But now we have to think of 
our lives." 

"Is that all?" said Colonel Stow. "You may have 
mine." 

Royston swore. "We can win through yet, if 
you'll have sense. O, I know you can hang me if 
you blab. Maybe you would like to, and by God, 
I could not blame you for it. But if you hang me, 
you hang yourself. No man but me can save you." 

Colonel Stow Laughed. "Kind sir, conceive that 
I want no salvation." 

"Faith, Jerry, I have been a bad friend enough, 
but I swear I am true now. For the sake of old 
days — the old days — hear me out. They will have 
a court martial for you. Let this be your tale: You 
know naught of any plot of murder. You know 
naught of any treason here. You were bidden only 
to join in a night surprise and you came with the 
rest. Then I'll strike in and swear I know your 
honor, and you'd not mingle in aught ignoble or 
unsoldierly, and I'll bring you off." 

All the while Colonel Stow was staring steadily. 
"No treason here?" he repeated. "No plot to mur- 
der? What talk is this?" Royston saw contempt 
come in the grave eyes. "Ah, you were the rogue 
let Strozzi through the outposts," he said and 
laughed. "I might have known. There would 



FRIENDS 395 

hardly be two of your kidney. I make you my 
compliments." 

Royston swore. "O, curse your foppery. I am 
what I am. But you were deep in the murder, too." 

Colonel Stow laughed again. "Well, I do not 
look for you to understand. Good sir, conceive that 
my enduring comfort is to have spoiled your plot. 
And prithee, be gone. You are something nauseous." 

"What do you mean?" growled Royston, flush- 
ing. "What were you doing with Strozzi ?" 

"I preserved you both from the sin of murder. 
Try to be grateful." 

Royston took a step back and glowered down at 
him. "You came to spoil us?" he muttered. 

"And in fact I did spoil you." 

"Zounds, it can not be!" cried Royston. Colonel 
Stow shrugged. 

"Do you suppose I care what you believe?" 

"Why, then?" Royston stammered. "What are 
the generals to you? How is it your affair?" 

"Good sir, you are not able to understand." 

"Ods heart, you do not spare me much," Royston 
muttered and flung back his head like a beast in 
pain. Colonel Stow laughed. "What! It was you 
fired those shots then?" Colonel Stow smiled and 
heard Royston grit his teeth. "Hollendonner! How 
I cursed the fool that did ! What a pox was it to 
you, then? Had you fallen out with Strozzi?" 

"Nay, I find Strozzi less a rogue than others." 



396 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Royston frowned heavily. "What in hell is it 
then? Are you out with King Charles at last?" 

"O, sir, it's not within your understanding." 

"Ay, you would have your stroke back at me," 
Royston muttered and strode up and down the room. 
"You'd break up my plan. Od damn me, it's fair." 

He was arrested by Colonel Stow's laugh, and 
turned glaring. "Pray believe that you count for 
nothing," said Colonel Stow. "I knew of you as 
little as I care." 

There was silence a long time, and far apart the 
two men eyed each other, Royston in his sturdy sol- 
dierly neatness. Colonel Stow in his rags and his 
dirt Royston's swarthy face was working and' 
shadows passed his eyes. But Colonel Stow was all 
calm and he smiled with a sneer. "Well?" said 
Royston hoarsely. 

Colonel Stow laughed. "O, be at ease! You may 
live for me. You make me proud." 

Royston came close. He looked long into those 
grave eyes that wore neither love nor hate. He felt 
the iron of scorn. . . . Muttering something 
he flung away to the door. It was long before he 
could make it open. Then he turned to look again 
at his friend. He saw that sneering smile again. 
He groaned and hurried out. 

Colonel Stow leaned back on his straw, not much 
the happier. He had conquered indeed, if that were 
anything. They had come soul to soul and it was 
not he who had been humbled, if that brought any 



FRIENDS 397 

comfort To him the right and the joy of scorn. 
He conquered. I'gad, it was a sweet triumph. The 
man who had fought with him, taken life of him, 
who had been more than blood brother, ranked with 
Colonel Strozzi's hired murderers. Sure, that must 
be heartening. Before the man had played him 
false, but this was a far blacker depth of villainy. 
Why, the fellow even bore to whine and pray for 
life. His soul turned sick with loathing. That, 
that was the best of a friend he had won. Sure, 
life was worth while! 



CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE 

COLONEL STOW IS READY 

TN the morning, in Holton House, the lieutenant 
■*- general expounded scripture. The commissary 
general honored him with the seraphic gaze of one 
whose thoughts are far away. The general was 
not pretending to listen. The sergeant major gen- 
eral was stealthily gone. 

The lieutenant general was moved to song and 
Fairfax shifted uneasily. 

Woe's me that I In Meshec am 

A sojourner so long, 
Or that I in the tents do dwell 

To Kedar that belong. 

"Lo, you then !" says he with indignation. "Do 
I speak vain words for a pretense, even as the 
Pharisees use? Nay, brethren, verily. Where is 
my dwelling place? Even in Meshec, which is be- 
ing interpreted, 'Prolonging,' for the Lord prolong- 
eth my trial. Even in Kedar, which signifieth 
'Blackness,' for I dwell in the blackness of my own 

398 



COLONEL STOW IS READY 399 

sin. Yet of a surety the Lord forsaketh me not. O, 
sirs, let's make a joyful noise! Though He do 
prolong, though my sins be as scarlet, yet He will, 
I trust, bring me to His tabernacle. My soul is 
with the Congregation of the Firstborn, my body is 
stayed upon hope. Verily, verily, no poor creature 
hath more cause to give thanks than L I have had 
plentiful wages beforehand, and I am sure I shall 
never earn the least mite. The Lord hath accepted 
me in His Son and given me to walk in the light. 
He it is that lighteneth our blackness. O, sirs, one 
beam in a dark place hath exceeding much refresh- 
ment in it. Blessed be His Name, for shining upon 
so dark a heart as mine!" 

Fairfax crashed his fist on the table. "The more 
I think of it, the more damnable a thing it is," he 
cried. 

Cromwell gasped. "Woe unto me, woe unto me, 
that you should say so !" and he beat his breast. 

Fairfax was much embarrassed. "Good lack, sir, 
I mean nothing against you. I was not heeding your 
very godly words. My mind was upon the surprise 
of last night." 

Ireton woke up. "A strange business, sir." 

"Most surely a vile plot," cried Fairfax. "Surely 
they designed to murder us, that they might fall on 
a masterless army." 

"You are marvelous acute," said Ireton with 
something of a sneer. He did not love discoverers 
of the obvious. 



400 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"I would that I knew what villain planned it," 
said Fairfax. 

"Verily he Is drunken with the blood of the 
saints!" said Cromwell in the tones of inspiration. 

"We will hold strict inquiry of this prisoner," 
Fairfax went on. "Ay, faith, I'll question him 
roundly, and have the truth out of him before I 
hang him." Ireton, who had seemed about to speak, 
said nothing, "We meet at noon, then, gentlemen." 
They saluted and he left them. 

"There goes the honestest head in England," said 
Ireton. 

Cromwell marked the tone. "You speak with 
two tongues, Henry." 

"Why, sir, none but a. very honest soul would give 
a trial to the man he has sentenced already." 

"What! Would you spare the Amalekites? His 
blood be upon his own head ! I would have hewn 
him down last night" 

"And to-night you would be sorry." 

"What do you mean, lad?" 

"Are you riding into Thame, sir? Then let us 
ride even unto the Amalekite." 

What the commissary said upon the road you 
may judge by what he said to Colonel Stow. 

The better by the use of a pail of water. Colonel 
Stow stood at the grating of his cell, trying to see 
the sunlight and the sky. Ireton came in with 
Cromwell. Colonel Stow turned. "You will come 
before a court martial at noon, sir," said Ireton, 



COLONEL STOW IS READY 401 

watching him keenly. Cromwell stood off a little 
way. 

Colonel Stow laughed. "Is that necessary?" 

"You have nothing to hope, then?" 

"Nay, sir, I have nothing to fear." Ireton's eyes 
were keen, but it was not they that made him change 
his place. He felt the trenchant steel gaze of Crom- 
well. 

"Death," said Ireton. 

"I thank you for that," said Colonel Stow, and 
laughed again. 

"Fellow, you have met me before," cried Crom- 
well. 

"I had the honor to upset Your Excellency in 
Newbury market." 

"Ay, but you were on an honest venture then." 

"And now an assassin," said Colonel Stow gaily. 

"Are you?" said Ireton, and paused a moment. 
"Come, sir, be plain with us. If we thought you no 
better than you seem, we had not taken the pains 
to seek you out. You can make your case (I tell 
you frankly) no worse than it is. But I profess I 
believe the truth may serve you. Let us have it, 
then. Who planned this affair of last night?" 

Colonel Stow caressed his moustachio. "You 
found me an assassin, I do not think you will find 
me a traitor." 

"Be not deceived !" Cromwell thundered. "God is 
not mocked." 

"Truly, sir, no. Nor are you God." 



402 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"I should be glad to know of whom you took your 
orders?" said Ireton. 

"I do not doubt it the least," said Colonel Stow 
amiably. 

Ireton linked and unlinked his fingers, watching 
steadily. "I should be glad to know — by what road 
you came to Holton House? Where you passed 
our outposts?" 

"But I can not express how little I want to tell 
you." 

"Man, man !" cried Cromwell. "Are you ready 
to die?" 

"God knows, sir. But I have no desire to live." 

"Bethink you of the damnation of hell !" 

"Sir, it can be no more disappointing than the 
damnation of life." 

Cromwell made a gesture of casting him off. "You 
do not take us friendly, sir," said Ireton in mild 
complaint. 

Colonel Stow laughed. "Dear sir, it is not my 
vocation." 

"And yet you stood our friend last night," said 
Ireton sharply, and was not sure whether Colonel 
Stow hesitated a little. 

"Why, if you can believe that, you can believe 
anything," laughed Colonel Stow. 

"Pray, why did you fire those shots?" 

"Each moment I regret more heartily that I 
missed you." 

"You were not firing at us." 



COLONEL STOW IS READY 403 

Colonel Stow appeared amazed. "Good sir, do 
you think me out of my wits ? Prithee, was I shoot- 
ing at the popinjay or the morning star?" 

Ireton frowned. "Do you tell me you came to 
murder us?" 

"Does your intelligence need telling?" 

"I think you are strangely anxious to be hanged, 
sir." 

"Sir, conceive that I ask nothing of you and will 
take nothing from you. I have done." 

"Then, sir, by my faith, this tone means death." 

"I thank you," said Colonel Stow, 

Ireton stood looking at him a long while, his 
brow bent, striving plainly with an enigma. Crom- 
well plucked at his arm and they went out. 

Ireton began to speak and checked himself. 
"What now?" said Cromwell. 

"Sir, I doubt I have been wrong. It is naught 
but a reckless bravo who values his own life cheap 
as another's." 

"Say you so?" 

"I profess I have no kindness for this levity. Sure, 
sir, it is a worthless soul that spends itself on witty 
answers in the hour of death." 

"I have seen a man of sorrows and acquainted 
with grief," said Cromwell. 



CHAPTER FORTY-SIX 

LUCINDA IS LOGICAL 

^~^ OLONEL Royston was gone to his wife's lodg- 
^-^ ings. 

Lucinda came to him quickly. She was just risen. 
A loose gown, all gray green like apple leaf, gave 
him the warm comeliness of her neck and all her 
grace. Her eyes shone softly like flowers in the 
dew. Her rich hair hung all unbound. 

Royston, who sat huddled together, his head on 
his hand, turned and looked at her and laughed. 

"Well, sir?" she said eagerly, her cheeks flushed, 
her hand upon her trembling bosom. "Is it — do I 
belong to a conqueror?" 

"What were you ever for but yourself?" 

She came a step nearer, leaning toward him, and 
her eyes began to flame. "Have you failed?" she 
said in a low voice. 

He laughed again. "You have failed, madame. 
You are beaten." There was something of hate in 
his grim mirth. "I'gad, I do not know that I am 
sorry." 

She had drawn back. "Failed!" she said. 

"Ay, madame, failed. We have sold our souls 
404 



LUCINDA IS LOGICAL 405 

for nothing. The murderers were beat off. The 
generals are safe as you. I am no more than the 
colonel I was yesterday. Or less, if they fix sus- 
picion on me. Ods life, it would be amusing. Which 
man would you fawn on then?" 

"Failed !" she said. "O, I have been a fool !" Her 
cheeks were pale again and seemed to have fallen 
thin ; her lips drawn back so that he saw her teeth ; 
her eyes blazed with a tawny light. "You — ^you dog 
— what I have given you !" 

Royston made a great roar of laughter. "Ha! 
Does it tickle you so? Are you moved, madame; are 
you moved?" He came to her in one swift stride 
and took her bare arms in his grip. She tried to 
wrench them free, struggling this way and that, 
panting, biting her lips. But the swarthy hands only 
bit harder into her flesh and he smiled down in her 
mad eyes. "Do you guess who balked us? Who 
has beaten you? Your dear love, Jerry Stow." 

"Stow?" she gasped. The straining muscles were 
limp in his hand ; her face, her neck, were all crim- 
son; her eyes shrank from his; her bosom rose and 
fell in long shuddering waves ; he saw beads of 
sweat come upon her brow. 

"Ay, I am glad that you can suffer," he said and 
let her go. 

She sank down on a chair and hid her face. "Tell 
me," he could hardly hear the words. "What was 
it? How? How?" 

"O, it's a sweet tale for us. Strozzi found his 



406 COLONEL GREATHEART ^ 

way safe enough and caught them at Holton fairly. 
But Jerry Stow chose to make himself of the party. 
God knows why — whether the thing offended his 
righteousness — he is Quixote enough — or he wanted 
to have his revenge on us — he has blood in him. At 
least he spoiled the whole. I think he started them 
fighting among themselves. I know there were 
shots. Harrison's horse heard and a troop of them 
came at speed. When I rode up all Strozzi's fel- 
lows were fled or dead and old Cromwell putting up 
a psalm. There's your noble plot, madame." 

"Where is he?" she said hoarsely. 

Royston flushed. "You have an affection for him 
now, have you? You'd go back to his arms? Be 
easy. He would not take you !" 

She gave a queer, cruel laugh. "Affection? I 
would that I saw him dead." 

"Ay, you ever had strange ways of love," said 
Royston, watching her eyes. 

"Will you torture me?" she cried, stamping her 
foot. "Where is he? Where is he?" 

"That is the cream of the whole," said Royston. 
"He was the only one of them taken alive. The gen- 
erals count him one of the murderers. They have 
him in guard here." 

She drew in her breath. Her cheeks were dull 
white and her bosom still. "Then he can tell all," 
she said in a low voice. "He can ruin us." 

Royston Laughed. "Yes, we are proudly placed. 
We professed him love and friendship and be- 



LUCINDA IS LOGICAL 407 

trayed him. Then we go on in villainy till we have 
to whine to him to hide it and spare our noble lives. 
Mercy of him ! By God, madame, you have made 
me honor myself!" 

There was wonder in her eyes. "What is all 
this?" she said with honest surprise. "Why do you 
play at words? If he blab to the Puritans we are 
undone." 

"Faith, you'd not easily find another husband." 

"O, words, words," she cried with an impatient 
gesture. "What is to be done, fool? Have you no 
resource?" 

"Ay, madame. You shall be laden with me yet 
some while. We are safe enough." 

She waited a moment, looking at him full. "How 
then ?" 

Royston gave a wretched laugh. "I have seen 

him. I asked " the voice was unsteady and he 

swore vehemently — "I asked him to spare us." Lu- 
cinda broke out laughing and pointed the finger at 
his shame. "Devil, do you take it so?" he mut- 
tered. 

"Well, and how did the saintly soul answer?" 

"Ods blood, I could wish he had bidden us to 
hell!" cried Royston. "Be at ease, madame. We 
concern him no more than any other ill vermin. He'll 
not strike at us. He'll be silent. He'll spare us. 
That is his revenge. By God, he could take none 
crueler." 

"Fool," said Lucinda smiling, "fool. Yes, I see 



4o8 COLONEL GREATHEART 

him in that. Silly, mad Quixote. So he'll be 
hanged, then ?" 

With some hoarse cry Roystpn strode to her, 
flung one arm about her and caught her throat in 
his grip and crushed her with ruthless strength. 
"You fiend!" he said hoarsely, and she bit her lip 
for the pain. But she put her arms round him and 
while he hurt her, clung to him close. At that he 
flung her ofT. 

She stayed herself against the wall, panting, 
breathless, still all grace. "Do you like to know he 
is alive?" she said, laughing. 

Royston turned away with a groan. 

She ran to him and cast her bare arms about his 
neck and circled him with lithe, fair strength and 
clung to him and kissed him. A little while he 
struggled to put her off. . . . He failed and 
she had her will. 



CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN 

COLONEL STOW IS AWAKED 

'' I ^HE story of the night passed from lip to lip, 
-*- and the army was in a frenzy of scriptural 
wrath. Colonel Stow became Judas Iscariot, which 
had dwelt in Sodom, and must meet the doom which 
David devised for the people of Rabbah. The good 
townsfolk of Thame were calmer. They chattered 
with delighted interest of the chances and changes 
and how all was done and what might have been — 
speculations which gave them sweet thrills of terror. 

It was with blent sections of romance and fervor 
that the tale came to Joan Normandy in the hospital. 
She heeded little at first. She had her work. But a 
tawny sergeant of Desborough's coming to have his 
head dressed woke her heart. "And they do say," 
says he, "that the lewd fellow they have taken is 
own brother to our Major Stow and as like him as a 
twin. Which I wunnot believe. For there be sheep 
and there be goats." His head was dressed in a 
hurry. 

Joan Normandy, In trembling haste, with a wild 
medley of hope and fear clashing in her heart, 
sought out David Stow. She was beginning a march 

409 



4IO COLONEL GREATHEART 

to his regiment's camp at Shabbington when she 
found him riding in with other officers. He did not 
see her; he was distraught amid the talk of the 
others, and she cried out : "Sir, I have an errand to 
you." 

He checked at the sound of her voice, saluted and 
drew apart. 

She awaited him, wide-eyed, lips parted. "Is it 
your brother?" she breathed. 

David Stow flushed. "Will you come to the 
house?" he said and keeping his horse to her pace, 
rode beside her without word spoken. 

So they came back through the shade of the 
churchyard limes and round to the wide street. It 
was a gay morning of mellow sunlight. When he 
dismounted, his wife came running to the door, 
smiling glad as her name. But he was very grave. 
"Why, I think Joan is always to bring you to me !" 
she cried, holding out for Joan both hands. 

"Come in," said David Stow gravely. 

They were hardly in that neat, light room before 
Joan moved from Joy's a»m and, "Tell me!" she 
cried, her voice quivering, "Is it your brother?" 

"It's true," said David Stow. 

"What do you mean?" she cried fiercely. "He 
was in the attack? He is taken ?" 

"He is taken. He was of the murderers," said 
David Stow. 

Blood surged to her cheeks. "It is a lie!" she 
cried. 



COLONEL STOW IS AWAKED 411 

"I would give my life that it were," said David 
Stow. 

"How dare you say it?" Joan cried, all aflame. 

"Would to God that I could say other — that I 
could believe other ! What way is there? He came 
with a party stealthily by night, fell upon the gen- 
erals. What is it but murder? He was taken in the 
fact. The thing is patent li there were but sus- 
picion — if there were but doubt — " he made a ges- 
ture of despair. 

Joan was struggling for words. "I — I — how dare 
you? I can not endure it! How dare you say so? 
O, a brother should love him and honor him. And 
you, if you have not heart enough for that, sure you 
know him. You must know him. He would not do 
basely. He could not." 

David Stow shook his head. "He was taken in 
the act," he said in a wretched voice. 

"Can you say nothing but that?" cried Joan 
Normandy. "Have you seen him?" 

"What use?" groaned David Stow. 

"O, no use, if you are so well content now. No 
use if you long to think him base. But what if he 
have another tale to tell? Will you let him be 
branded with this shame?" 

David Stow looked at her miserably. His wife's 
eyes, too, were full of tears. "O, child, I can not 
blame you. I protest to God, It wounds me no less. 
He was very near to me. But what help is there? 
The thing is plainly a murder and he was among 



412 COLONEL GREATHEART 

them that wrought it. O, he hath been miserably 
beguiled by that vile court. . , . We — we 
must pray for him." 

"Pray for him !" cried Joan with such scorn that 
the soldier shrank back. Her bosom swelled. She 
seemed to tower above him. "Ay, truly, let us pray 
— let us pray for false friends and cowardly love 
and feeble faith. I would that you were in his 
place. He would show you a man's part then. You 
— ^you pray !" There was a moment of angry, scorn- 
ful laughter, then in a whirl she was gone. 

Husband and wife looked at each other and she 
fell on his breast, sobbing terribly, "Joan — my poor 
Joan." 

But if it be true that who wants no pity needs 
none, they should have spent none upon Joan. She 
knew no pain. Her heart beat with a wild delight. 
She could no more think him false than herself false 
to him. Throbbing to the vehement surge of life, 
passionate with faith in the good rule of God, all 
glad and strong of heart, she could not fear his con- 
demnation. Surely the truth must be known and 
his honor proved. And now, now that he was cap- 
tive and forsaken of all, now she might go to him 
without shame. She was almost glad of his trouble 
if it let her serve him. At least she might see him, 
look in his eyes, give him heart in his loneliness. 

She had no trouble with the guard at the prison. 
Her nurse's gown was warrant and half the army 
knew her well enough to honor her. 



COLONEL STOW IS AWAKED 413 

Colonel Stow sat at ease on his straw humming 
some scrap of a ballad — 

Cold's the wind, and wet's the rain, 

St. Hugh be our good speed! 
Ill is the weather that bringeth no gain, 

Nor helps good hearts in need. 

And he laughed. 

The grating of the lock did not arrest him. There 
could be no messenger of good. A clear voice rang 
through the fog of despair, "I give you good mor- 
row, sir." 

Colonel Stow started up and she gave a little cry 
of grief. Though he had done his best with him- 
self, he was still something of a wreck. The slashed, 
stained clothes, the bruised cheek and brow, told her 
of the pain of the night. But he held himself gal- 
lantly. He was the soldier still. "I am at your 
service, madame," he said gravely. 

She held out both hands to him as if she had some 
wrong to atone. "You are hurt. And I had forgot 
of that. Can I help ?" 

" 'Tis all a show, child," said Colonel Stow with 
a crooked smile. He did not take her hands. "It 
affects others vastly more than me." 

"Truly so?" she said, doubting, disappointed. 
"You should trust me. I have some skill in heal- 
mg. 

"I can well believe it," said Colonel Stow, looking 



414 COLONEL GREATHEART 

down at her with grave, gentle eyes. "But you must 
not waste it on me." 

- "Waste? I who owe you life and dearer things 
than life? You know that I do." 

Colonel Stow shrugged. "I've canceled that debt, 
child." 

"Have I let you?" said Joan, meeting his eyes 
steadily. 

"Nay, you must pay it to a truer man." 

The blood leaped to her brow. "You dare not say 
it!" she cried. "It is a wickedness!" 

"Is it so?" said Colonel Stow listlessly, concerned 
for his own emotions, not hers. "I mean the best for 
you. Believe me, madame, if you knew what I am 
you would not linger here." 

"I come because I know," she said quietly. 

Colonel Stow moved a little. "Have you all the 
story, madame?" he said in a changed voice, and his 
eyes were set and intent, roused at thought of his 
own plight. 

"No, not all." 

"Ah!" He drew in his breath and the voice fell 
listless again. "Go, get it told. You will not come 
back." 

"I will hear it of you, sir." 

"You shall hold me excused," cried Colonel Stow. 

"And why?" 

He flung back his head. "Because, madame — be- 
cause I am not longing to give you pain." 

"I can endure it, sir," she said quietly. 



COLONEL STOW IS AWAKED 415 

Colonel Stow forced a laugh. "You make me 
mighty vain-glorious, child. I profess I am not now 
so fond of myself." 

"O, sir, then you do wrong," said Joan in a de- 
mure voice. 

It startled him. "Faith, I am glad to amuse you," 
he said savagely. His nerves were raw. "You 
shall have more mirth. Listen ! In the dark of the 
night a company of hired bravos, whereof I was 
one, came to murder your generals. We came near 
to succeed. But a troop of your horse overcame us, 
slew many and scattered the rest. I was taken 
alive." 

"I knew all that," said Joan quietly, looking 
straight into his eyes. 

"You knew?" Colonel Stow repeated, staring 
stupid surprise. "You came — you held out your 
hands to me — you knew?" 

"Do you think I believed?" she said angrily. 
"What do you think me then ? Did you doubt your- 
self?" 

Colonel Stow was silent a while. "God forgive 
me, I did," he said slowly. 

She gave a little scornful laugh. "You !" she 
she said. "You !" and held out her hands again. 
Colenel Stow took them and kissed them. She 
pressed them against his lips. "For me — for me — 
you may tell me the rest or not as you will. It is so 
little matter. I know." 

Colonel Stow let fall her hands. "I have no 



4i6 COLONEL GREATHEART 

right," he muttered and turned a little away. "I 
have no right." 

She laughed miserably. "Why, then I am shamed 
indeed," she said and then cried out. "What is it 
you mean ? Tell me !" 

Colonel Stow came close to her. "Child, you 
must see. I have little chance of life and no honor 
left me. Truly, you put trust in me yet, but who 
else is there? It is but a strange, fabulous tale I can 
tell and if it will save me at the court I doubt. Surely 
it will never clear me to the world. If I live it is for 
a known knave, an assassin. I p-rofess I want no 
such life as that. I had rather make an end." 

"You dare?" she cried fiercely. "O, 'tis better to 
be red with sin than to be afraid of life. Honor, do 
you say ? And shall it be no honor to bear the dis- 
honor of men ? O, sir, I think no manhood is proven 
save after the manner of Christ, which was op- 
pressed and was afflicted, yet went on His way do- 
ing good. Is't not truest honor to be held dishonora- 
ble among men, yet do always the works of honor? 
Is not that true strength and the way to win glory 
of God?" 

Colonel Stow drew away from her. There was 
new wonder and reverence in his eyes. But she, all 
rosy and trembling with a pure passion, her own 
eyes shining through tears, saw nothing of that. 
Colonel Stow bowed his head. "You are braver 
than I, child," he said. 

While they stood there silent, she watching him 



COLONEL STOW IS AWAKED 417 

as a mother yearns over a child, the door was flung 
open with a clatter and a sergeant's guard broke in. 
"You fellow, you are to come before the court! Hey ! 
What is your work here, nurse?" 

Colonel Stow stood erect. "What is ever a nurse's 
work, good fellow?" 

"A corpse is not worth* it," quoth the sergeant. 
"March!" 



CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT 

A HUSBAND OR SO 

'VT'OU have to lament for Benaiah Jones, corporal 
-*- of horse, a victim of early rising. When Alci- 
biade was ridden down in the route of Rupert's 
horsemen he lay stunned and much bruised. He 
waked to life again in the dawn with Benaiah Jones 
fumbling at the pockets in the region of his stom- 
ach. Benaiah Jones was upon the godly errand of 
spoiling the Amalekites, and such was his zeal that 
he rose before dawn to prevent riches falling into the 
hands of unrighteousness. It happened that Alci- 
biade was ticklish. He woke to see the fat jowl of 
Benaiah close above his own. His disgust is reason- 
able. He expressed it with passionate zeal in a blow 
at Benaiah's chin. If he had had his whole strength 
Benaiah would hardly have risen again. It sufficed 
to bring him oblivion. Benaiah clucked a little and 
became livid. 

Alcibiade sat up and blinked. He ached in vari- 
ous places, but laborious experiment failed to find a 
fracture. He considered possibilities. It was in the 
first place not a possibility to sit still. The next 
saintly plunderer might well have steel ready. But 

418 



A HUSBAND OR SO 419 

it was hardly a possibility to tell where to go. 
Colonel Stow rfiight be in .a hundred places in the 
world or even out of it. If anything might be prob- 
able, he was probably with the Puritans or dead. 
Alcibiade, who was a sanguine person, preferred to 
believe in the Puritans, and remembered then that 
the Puritans had at least Colonel Stow's brother, a 
pleasant if respectable person. Alcibiade elected for 
the brother. 

So you find him limping up to the Puritan out- 
posts and enquiring after Major David Stow. He 
was bitterly questioned and his answers so wildly 
ingenious that they sent a guard with him to Shab- 
bington. David Stow, as you have seen, had gone 
to Thame. So that it was late before the surly escort 
presented him. 

David Stow looked the plump, bedraggled figure 
up and down. "What do you want of me?" 

"My master," said Alcibiade. 

"What have I to do with him?" 

"You have the honor to be his brother." 

David Stow made an exclamation. Then to the 
escort : "Wait you without. I will answer for him," 
and when the door was shut: "Now, good fellow, 
when did you leave him ?" 

"Smoking his pipe after yesterday's dinner, sir, in 
his quarters in Oxford. I came back at dusk to find 
he Is thrown into prison. Why? For quarreling 
with the King, they say. I go as you would your- 
self to take him out of prison and find that he is 



420 COLONEL GREATHEART 

escaped. You remember a M. Gilbert Bourne, whom 
he rescued from you? Bien! M. Gilbert Bourne 
had rescued him from the King and they were away 
together. Whither? I followed them on to Wheat- 
ley and came upon Rupert and was ridden down in 
the rout. I have but lately come to my wits and seek 
you to seek him." He looked with surprise at the 
swift emotions changing on David Stow's face. 

"Thrown into prison by the King?" David Stow 
repeated. "He would scarce be seeking a desperate 
service for him then. God, what does it all mean ?" 
A triple chime of the quarter hours rang over the 
town. He started up. "Nay, come, come, they have 
been trying him long." And he hurried Alcibiade 
to the door. 

"I do not understand," said Alcibiade with dig- 
nity. "Who has the insolence to try my master?" 

"Man, there was a company of murderers at- 
tacked our generals last night and my brother was 
taken among them." 

Alcibiade became stately. "Permit me to tell you, 
sir, that you are mad or you lie." 

"I am mad, I think," cried David Stow. "Come, 
come, you must tell them all," and hurried him into 
the house of my Lord Williams, where the court was 
sitting. 

It is necessary to consider also the other gentle- 
man in whom Molly was interested, a gentleman of 
more peaceful fortunes, but hardly less distressed, a 
victim of unrequited love. 



A HUSBAND OR SO 421 

As the shadows lengthened in the first of the aft- 
ernoon, Mr. Stow, astride a full-barreled cob, rode 
back from his barley. Out of the diamond eye of 
the sun a miller's wain was coming to meet him. In 
front thereof marched a lean man and a girl in no 
part lean. They were plainly at violent argument, 
being further exhorted by a man on horseback be- 
hind them. Mr. Stow, with more surprise than 
pleasure, beheld them turn by his yew hedge and 
av/ay to the yard. He arrived to find the lean man 
unloading bundles from the wain, while the lady 
assisted him with affection. 

"What a pox !" said Mr. Stow, not without excuse. 
"Hey, you are the Frenchman who kissed my cook." 

"Never!" cried Matthieu-Marc, while Molly 
wailed the faithlessness of men. "I am the brother 
of all good cooks. But yours — no, she has no soul." 

"Then why do you come here, my friend?" 

"In few words, sir, hear a sad tale. I am the 
servant of your son. I can declare that I live only 
for him. Last night my colonel was cast into prison 
by the King. Why? I do not know. He swiftly 
escaped and fled from Oxford, Remained his prop- 
erty. Lest that should be seized I removed it by 
strategy. Sir, it is here in your guard." 

Mr. Stow said something to himself. "And where 
will Colonel Stow be gone then, my lad?" 

"Helas, monsieur," said Matthieu-Marc, turning 
up his eyes. 

"Well, who knows?" said Mr. Stow to himself. 



422 COLONEL GREATHEART 

and drew a long breath. He has not a hasty mind. 
Keen and kindly he looked at Molly. "She will not 
be my son's property?" 

Matthieu-Marc coughed. "The lady informs me, 
sir, that she is my wife." 

"And you?" 

"It would be ungraceful to deny it," said Mat- 
thieu-Marc. 

Molly made a courtesy in his direction and a more 
serious one for Mr. Stow» 

"Come in, come in," said he, "you will be fasting." 
He shepherded Molly and the miller's man before 
him, but Matthieu-Marc lingered. When they 
turned by the kitchen door Matthieu-Marc on his 
master's horse was already some way down the road. 
He waved his hand through the sunshine. 

Mr. Stow stood still, gazing at him till he became 
a black speck against the glare. Then he wiped his 
eyes. "Sure, he is a dear," said Molly beside him, 
"and I could wish he were not." 



CHAPTER FORTY-NINE 

COLONEL ROYSTON DELIVERS HIS SOUL 

N a long, low room of dark beam and wainscot 
Sir Thomas Fairfax had gathered his officers. 
The sunlight breaking through the hundred dia- 
mond panes of the casements, woke the scarlet and 
steel, made the shadows gloom black, played quaint- 
ly about the stern jaws of holiness. Fairfax had the 
head of the table, his pleasant dark face resolute and 
something self-satisfied. To the right Cromwell 
leaned his head on his hand and fidgeted and mut- 
tered scraps of Scripture to himself. Ireton was be- 
side him, frowning and scribbling over much paper. 
Upon the other side old Skippon sat and yawned. 
There was Lambert, the square-headed Yorkshire- 
man, and Fleetwood's lean fervor, and Desborough 
of the honest yokel's face, and Ludlow and Whalley 
and the ruddy, comely Harrison — every officer of 
note in the army. By Ireton — no comfortable neigh- 
bor — sat Colonel Royston, heavy and still, his full 
face set in hard lines. 

"Gentlemen, there is no need of much words," 
said Fairfax in his loud frank voice. "Myself was 

423 



424 COLONEL GREATHEART 

at council with the lieutenant general and the com- 
missary and the sergeant major at Holton last 
night when a company of bullies set about us and 
butchered the good fellows that were with us .and 
came so near ourselves that but for a troop of 
Colonel Harrison's we had been sped. It was at the 
same time that the King's horse fell upon our lines 
in a hot .attack, wherein we have, under God, to 
thank Colonel Royston's dispositions of his dragoon- 
ers. Sirs, it is plain this is all a horrid plot. They 
would murder your generals and assault ,a master- 
less army. One of the fellows that beset us hath 
been taken. We have him here and I doubt not 3/ou 
will be short with him." 

There was a mutter of assent. Ireton looked up 
from the paper whereon he had been drawing some- 
thing not unlike Colonel Stow. "And with your 
leave, sir, we may learn of him who was behind this 
plot ; whether the knowledge of a thing so damnable 
touches any in high places." 

That hint at the King was relished. There was 
muttering and Harrison cried out: "Verily, verily, 
he is drunken with the blood of the saints." 

"This thing is a low villainy," said Fairfax, witli 
some disdain. Respect for royal persons was bred in 
him. "Bring the man in." 

Colonel Stow came in between two pikemen and 
saluted the court, looked calmly round upon eyes of 
contemptuous hate. 

"Your name," said Rushworth, the secretary. 



ROYSTON DELIVERS HIS SOUL 425 

"Jeremiah Stow, lately Colonel of Horse in the 
King's army." 

"Sir," says Fairfax, "I think you were of a party 
that made a murderous attack on myself and other 
gentlemen last night ?" 

"It is within the knowledge of many, sir." 

"And this was no fair act of war, but patently 
murder?" 

"I do not deny it." 

Fairfax sat back in his chair. "Do we need more, 
gentlemen ?" he said, with contempt. 

"Nay, for it is written, 'smite Amalek and utterly 
destroy,' " said Fleetwood with unction. 

"It is also written that sinners make haste to shed 
blood," said Ireton sourly. "And by your leave, sir, 
I need some little more." Fairfax waved his hand. 
"Sir, 'tis within your knowledge that none of us bore 
pistols, having left the same in our holsters." Fair- 
fax nodded. "Yet, of the fellows who were slain 
last night two have bullet wounds, the which I re- 
marked to the sergeant major." 

Skippon rolled in his seat. "And so it is. But 
there never was a fight without strange happenings." 

"So that plainly there were shots fired by another 
hand than ours. And these were not let off at us in 
a venture. No man who sought to do a secret mur- 
der would do it by pistol fire. These shots were 
meant. I think Colonel Harrison will tell the court 
it was the sound of the firing roused him to send his 
troop to Holton." 



426 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"You speak the truth," said Harrison. 

"Therefore, I present to the court that the man 
which fired those shots had another design than our 
murder." 

"He stands there," said Cromwell, pointing with 
big, red, bony hand across the table to Colonel Stow. 

Colonel Stow saluted. "I thank you, sir." 

"This is something fine weaving, methinks," said 
Fleetwood with a sneer. 

"The commissary goes back to his old trade," 
quoth Lambert. "This is a lawyer's tale. Another 
lawyer would answer it all in a moment. The man 
was taken with red hands in a murder. What's all 
the rest? Whoever knew a fight where no bullet 
went awry? This man was fool enough to fire and 
fool enough to shoot amiss, as he hath been fool 
enough to be taken alive. His folly hath spoiled 
their villainy. But I protest I have no more mercy 
for a fool than another." 

"That surprises me in Colonel Lambert," said Ire- 
ton blandly. 

"Nay, but there was never a fight without strange 
happenings in it," said Skippon, "and I can not tell 
why they should save a rogue." 

There was a loud murmur of assent. They were 
not looking for innocence. Lambert's heavy, blunt 
arguments crushed the lawyer's subtleties; indeed, 
no soldier was likely to need more than the plain 
tale. One of the murderers lost his head — fired — 
was captured. It was more like truth than any re- 



ROYSTON DELIVERS HIS SOUL 427 

finement. It carried them away. Ireton, glancing 
round the table, reckoned the verdict with keen eyes 
and shrugged. He looked curiously at Colonel Stow, 
who surprised him by a smile. 

Colonel Stow saluted Fairfax. "Sir, I, too, have 
something to say." 

"Why, how now?" cried Cromwell with a start, 
and Ireton began to caress his chin. 

"It is your right," said Fairfax. 

Royston moved heavily and, turning at the sound, 
Colonel Stow saw his face and its agony. It hardly 
inclined him to mercy. But for the sake of old years, 
for his own pride, for a hundred mingled memories 
and desires, he could not give Royston to death. 
There was another whose shame must be covered. 
Gilbert Bourne had taken him from prison to save 
the King's honor and for the King's honor died. His 
own faith was pledged to the dead. The King's part 
could not be told. For the rest he was free and 
would fight. He began to speak and Royston's eyes 
were set on him in a grim stare of pain. 

"Sir, I thank you. I bear a name of some honor 
among you and, though I be your foe, I have never 
brought shame upon it. I would call to witness your 
officers who have had passages with me that I have 
ever observed the right rules of war." 

Then Fairfax cried out: "Faith, I remember 
you ! You were in that affair by Towcester." 

"I think, sir, I lost no honor by it?" 

"Sir, I am sorry to see you here." 



428 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Stow bowed. "Well, sir, you recall that. 
In this present I thank the commissary general for 
his honorable testimony. I will make a plain tale 
short. Yesternight in Oxford an officer of the 
King's guard, Captain Bourne, came to me with the 
news that an Italian bravo, Strozzi, had ridden out 
on this venture of murder. It was plain to Captain 
Bourne and myself that such a plot must bring 
shame on the King's cause, the which we had in 
high regard. But the fellow was gone and we could 
not stay him by orders, nay, it was but a chance, of 
riding at the best of our speed, we could reach you 
in time to balk him. I do not pretend, sir, that we 
had any peculiar kindness for you. We sought to 
preserve our cause from the infamy of this foul 
deed. Riding ventre a terre, we came something 
rashly upon the Italian's troop and in the affray 
Captain Bourne was slain. He lies by the roadside 
on Shotover. Before he died he bade me ride on for 
the honor of the King. Sir, I did my possible. I 
caught up Strozzi's company as they were running 
in upon Holton House. It was over late to warn 
you. I fought for you. I did what, under the provi- 
dence of God, sir, was your salvation. I would have 
you remark there were shots fired before Strozzi 
came within the house. They were mine. I had 
four pistols, my own and my friend's, and they were 
all shot off before I was beaten down. Pray, remark 
again, it was not Colonel Harrison's troop, nor your 
swords, but Strozzi's own men, that smote me. That 



ROYSTON DELIVERS HIS SOUL 429 

is all, sir. Let me say, whatever befall me, I did my 
part. I saved you." 

"With a very pretty tale," Lambert sneered. 

"Let's have less of worldly honor and more of 
God's righteousness," said Fleetwood. 

"Wherein lies the one way of thriving," said Har- 
rison, with unction. "O, sir, let's not be beguiled 
with the glories of man's seeking, which are a fleet- 
ing show." 

"Let's abide by our business," said Ireton sharply. 
"Come, sir, this was well said and I tell you plainly 
it suits well with what I have seen. But we must 
have more. You heard of the plot in Oxford. Did 
you hear who made the plot?" 

"Captain Bourne told me of none but Strozzi. We 
knew him for a fellow of no scruple." 

"Ah, Strozzi," said Ireton, with a curious intona- 
tion, "and who stood behind Strozzi?" 

"How can I tell?" said Colonel Stow, with a 
shrug. "He is a fellow that works in the dark." 

"Do you know who devised the plan?" 

"On my honor, sir," said Colonel Stow, with some 
relief, "no. It is like Strozzi himself." 

"Do you know any but Strozzi who knew his de- 
sign?" 

Colonel Stow hesitated a long while, staring at 
the ground. This was the very thing he feared, but 
he had not looked for such damnable directness. 
Well ! He was pledged. He would guard the honor 
of those who themselves would not guard it. It ill 



430 COLONEL GREATHEART 

became him to blab. "Sir, I am here to answer for 
my own part, not others," he said slowly. 

Ireton made an impatient sound. "I ask you 
again," he cried. "Do you know of any but Strozzi 
who knew the plot?" Colonel Royston moved nois- 
ily In his chair. 

"I have answered that," said Colonel Stow. 

"I warn you, sir," cried Ireton angrily, "you do 
yourself wrong. Deceit is your worst enemy. Sub- 
tlety shall ruin you. Integrity never will. Will you 
speak?" 

"I will speak anything of myself," said Colonel 
Stow. 

"I ask you a last time. I do solemnly profess to 
you, you have no hope but in telling all. Who was 
in this beside Strozzi ?" 

"I have answered." 

"And I have done!" Ireton cried petulantly, and 
flung himself back and with a wave of his hand gave 
up the affair. But Royston was swaying to and fro 
in his seat. 

"It was time," quoth Lambert. "The rogue is but 
playing with us." 

"Make short, make short!" cried Harrison. "Let 
him be turned back for a reward of his shame." 

Fairfax leaned forward again. "Do you say more, 
sir?" he asked gravely. 

"I have done," said Colonel Stow. "It is not here 
I am judged." 

"I give you little hope," said Fairfax and signed 



ROYSTON DELIVERS HIS SOUL 431 

to the sergeant of the guard. But Cromwell was 
muttering and trying to speak. 

They were leading Colonel Stow out when Roy- 
ston sprang to his feet. His chair went crashing 
down. He stood erect, the biggest man by far, crim- 
son, with flashing eyes. "No, by God, no!" he 
roared. "I'll deliver myself." He strode heavily 
down the room, spurs and sword clanking, and halt- 
ed in Colonel Stow's place. "I'll give you light, 
sirs. Why is he silent? Why is he choosing death? 
To keep safe a villain that once he called friend. He 
would die for me. By the blood of God, I am 
bigger than that ! Hark ye !" There was little need 
of that, for he held them like men in a trance. 
"Colonel Stow and I, we were true friends for a 
dozen years till I betrayed him. We were both with 
the King. I forsook him for my own profit and for 
my own profit sought to ruin him. The lieutenant 
general will recall how I bought honor of him with 
news of a King's convoy. It was my friend's com- 
mand. I came with a treachery, and with a treach- 
ery I go. I did not rise fast enough in your army. 
Ay, gentlemen, I am a better soldier than any man 
of you, save one, though you have not the wit to 
know it. Well. I wanted a higher place. Ods 
heart, I was worth it. There came to me this devil 
Strozzi with a few thousand pounds if I would put 
him in the way to kill off the generals so that Ru- 
pert could have us at advantage. I took him. It was 
I gave him news of your Holton council. It was I 



432 COLONEL GREATHEART 

prescribed him a way through the outposts. And 
yet, by God, you shall do me reason ! It was not the 
money I needed. I would have given him no vic- 
tory. You know who beat off Rupert last night. 
With the generals down who would have been mas- 
ter of the army to-day? Ask yourselves that, gen- 
tlemen!" He hurled at their amazement a rough 
laugh of defiance. "But for Colonel Stow I had 
done it. Those damned shots of his saved you, as 
they spoiled my plan. Faith, you may thank your 
God for him. Do you think there is another Quixote 
in the two armies mad enough to spend himself to 
save his foes? By Heaven, I had bubbled you all but 
for him!" He turned on Colonel Stow with reck- 
less eyes. He had put off shame now. He was his 
own master. Colonel Stow saw him smile. "Ay, he 
has thrown me. I am beat. And now, so please 
you, he'd take my shame. . . . Curse me, I 
have some soul, too." He plucked at his belt and 
loosening it, flung sword and all clashing down. 
"There's what no man of you is man enough to take 
against my will !" And he laughed at them again. 

It was his hour. He mastered them. The grim, 
saintly Puritans, who knew no fear of less than God, 
whom no reward would have suborned to his treach- 
ery, they shrank before him. His stark, rough 
strength mocked at them in wanton delight of itself. 
In that storm of wild vigor their virtue was abashed. 
Some one muttered of that old serpent Satan and 
Royston stood there, towering above them heavy and 



ROYSTON DELIVERS HIS SOUL 433 

tall, the mellow sunlight falling quaintly on his 
drawn brow and the full dark face gave them the 
contempt of a mocking god. They dared nothing. 
He was far above them all. Even Colonel Stow at 
his side, watching him with a great love, was little 
matter. He proved himself upon them. Their wills 
were bound. Life was worth living for that. . . . 

Ireton was first to break himself free. ''You pro- 
fess yourself traitor?" he said sharply. 

"Little words, little man," said Royston with a 
smile. 

"You shall find no little doom, sirrah," Ireton 
sneered. 

"What you can do, will it make me fear?" Roy- 
ston sneered. 

Then Fairfax started up. "Away ! Away !" he 
cried, flushing. "Nay, keep Colonel Stow apart. Let 
not the honest man be defiled." 

Colonel Royston made them a salute of mockery 
ere he turned. 

Colonel Stow hung back and lingered in the door- 
way. While the sergeant strove to keep them apart, 
he held out his hand to his friend. Again they 
looked in each other's eyes, and so were parted. 
Not in sorrow or any shame. The last hour 
had worn all that away. The tide of happiness came 
upon them swift resurgent. Past treasons were no 
matter. The last trial found each man true. Their 
souls were free. They stood together invincible of 
the powers of death and glad. . . . Glad. . . . 



CHAPTER FIFTY 

THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL SPEAKS 

T T WAS Fleetwood who began devoutly whining : 
-■- "Why dost thou show me iniquity and cause me 
to behold grievance, O Lord ? Verily, though they 
dig into hell, thence shall Thy hand take them." 

"The which is a sweet and savory comfort to Is- 
rael," said Harrison with unction. 

"Nay, but the Lord hath sent serpents and 
cockatrices among us and we are black," Fleetwood 
complained. 

"O, sirs," said Desborough, with simple fervor, 
"'tis sure a great honor unto us that the Lord hath 
taken thought to preserve us from such a devil." 

At this*Cromwell made strange noises, but when 
they looked for him to speak there came nothing. 
His face was near purple and he bit his lip till the 
blood lay upon his chin. 

Fleetwood began again : "It is written in the book 
of the Prophet Hosea " 

Ireton made an exclamation and turned noisily to 
Fairfax: "Well, sir, and what say you to Colonel 
Stow's part now ?" 

434 



THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL SPEAKS 435 

"Why, by my faith, I have done him much wrong. 
I would hold it honor to call him friend. I " 

"Honor! Honor!" cried Fleetwood. "O, sir, 
what a tinkling cymbal is the honor of men. Let us 
ask if he be a savory member and you shall find — " 

"A weaver of webs, a thing of subtleties," quoth 
Lambert. "Hear me, sirs. This corruption of man- 
ifold designs likes me not. It is written : 'He that 
is not with us, is against us.' That suffices." 

"It is written in the same book," said Ireton 
sweetly, " 'he that is not against us is with us.' " 

"Sir, let plain men be the judges of villainy." 

"And folly pass sentence on crime." 

"This is unworthy," said Fairfax sharply, and 
Lambert muttered. "Why, gentlemen, it's surely 
clear this Colonel Stow hath done us great service at 
peril of life and that in the clean impulse of honor. 
We have been hardly preserved from doing a hor- 
rid wrong. But as for the other, for Colonel Roy- 
ston, I do profess " 

"Pray, sir, shall we not have done with Colonel 
Stow first?" said Ireton with the advocate's instinct. 

"Why shall we find two mouths? Sure all will 
pronounce him guiltless." 

"Nay, sir, my conscience will not have it so," 
groaned Fleetwood. "I suspicion him an Amale- 
kite in grain." 

"O, your conscience," Fairfax muttered. "Will 
you wait your turn, sir?" Pie turned to Cromwell. 
"How say you?" Cromwell started as if he had 



436 COLONEL GREATHEART 

heard nothing. "How say you, sir, of Colonel 
Stow?" 

"He shall not fail or be discouraged," said 
Cromwell in a strange voice of dreams. 

It took Fairfax a moment to apprehend that. 
Then he turned to old Skippon. "If I understand 
him," growled Skippon, "which I do not, he hath 
served us. Acquit." 

"It is my mind that he hath done us more service 
than we can well pay," said Ireton. 

That was enough. Desborough and Whalley fol- 
lowed their leaders faithfully. Harrison had enough 
fire in his own wild soul to honor a. knight errant. 
They carried it. Fleetwood and Lambert snarled in 
vain. 

Colonel Stow was brought in. "Sir," said Fair- 
fax, "we have done you wrong and you much service 
to us. I thank you. You are free to go where you 
will. I pray you rest in this town a while. I would 
know more of you." 

Colonel Stow saluted, "Sir, if you count yourself 
to owe me anything, I would it might serve my 
friend." 

Fairfax shook his head and when Colonel Stow 
would have spoken held up his hand for silence. 
"You can do no good, sir," he said gravely. 

Colonel Stow saluted again. Indeed, he had no 
hope. The law of war could not permit less punish- 
ment than death. 

When he was gone Fairfax broke out in a hurry : 



THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL SPEAKS 437 

"Here's ill work to do, gentlemen. Let us make 
short." But the righteous gentlemen drew together 
with relish. Now there was no occasion for mercy. 
They were free to be the executioners of Jehovah. 
And their own moment of weakness fired them to re- 
venge. "Few words," said Fairfax. "When I spoke 
first of treachery I had little thought the blackest 
traitor was of ourselves. 'Tis the vilest thing I have 
known. A manifold devilish falseness. How dare 
we accuse the enemy, when they find one of our 
commission double their villainy? This Colonel 
Royston. Bah ! Let's have done. Are we of one 
mind?" He turned to Cromwell. But Cromwell 
waved his hand and the question went to Skippon. 

"Give him a halter," growled Skippon. 

Ireton nodded. 

Fleetwood had no notion of so brief a verdict. 
The occasion was altogether delectable. "O, sirs," 
says he, licking his lips, "this is a great villain and 
hath deceived us by those deeds which he had power 
to do in the might of the beast. Yea, he hath the 
mark of the beast upon his right hand and upon his 
forehead. But worthy, worthy is the Lamb, and lo, 
we are preserved even out of the hand of his wick- 
edness. For his sins have reached unto Heaven, and 
God hath remembrance of his iniquities. He shall 
drink of the wine of the wrath of God and he shall 
be tormented with fire and brimstone; yea, the 
smoke of his torment shall ascend for ever and ever, 
and he shall have no rest day nor night." 



438 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Colonel Harrison?" cried Fairfax, snatching at 
the first pause. 

"Of a truth, sir, he stinks and is corrupt. He hath 
troubled us. The Lord shall trouble him. Let him 
die the death of Achan." 

"I would all treason were as clearly known as this 
shall be swiftly punished," said Lambert. 

No man gainsaid. 

"There is one voice, then," said Fairfax in a 
hurry, loathing the task. "Have him in !" 

But Cromwell clashed his clenched hand down on 
the table. "I'm absolute for life!" It came upon 
them like a cannon shot from the unknown. They 
were held stupefied at gaze. "What, shall we be 
more righteous than God? Will you condemn the 
penitent thief? Why, sirs, this man is in a higher 
way. He hath not waited for the cross and the hour 
of death. We held him of the saints ; we had never 
known his sin, but that he humbled himself unto us 
and made confession. We cry out upon him. I wish 
none of us may be so deep in sin. And now are we 
to use his repentance to his death ? I profess I will 
go to the limit of my strength against it. Nay, this 
is to assail the majesty of God. Unto Him the man 
hath committed his case. O happy choice! Surely 
he hath liberated his soul. But he is not penitent? 
But he boasts of his sin ? O, sirs, who gave you eyes 
that see men's hearts ? I tell you, I have seen weak 
men endued with strength, strong men like to suck- 



THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL SPEAKS 439 

lings in an agony of spirit. Man, man, is it for you 
to order how the grace of God shall work within a 
man? He hath a brazen forehead, you say? Let 
him have what he will before men so he wear noth- 
ing but meekness and truth before God. And what 
if this very bold boasting be but an armor to hold 
men off from his private passages with his Lord? I 
would know who dares hold him wrong. Look to it 
that you judge not in a private anger. He will not 
humble himself unto you, and you are chafed. Go, 
tell that upon your knees." 

"All which may be very well," said Lambert stub- 
bornly. "But I know well the man is a traitor at 
heart. Ask Ireton there if he did not ever mistrust 
him ; and so have L This is but a trick to save the 
fellow he calls friend and himself, too, if he can." 

"Of a truth I have ever seen guile in liim, and 
now am well confirmed," said Fleetwood. 

"Are you so? Have you never gone amiss in read- 
ing the hearts of men ? O, sirs, I beseech you by the 
bowels of God, conceive that you may be mistaken ! 
Believe a man may not be of your temper and yet 
acceptable to God. Believe he may traverse strange 
ways and bring forth fruits meet for repentance at 
the last. He hath sinned; O, ay, he hath sinned 
deeply, and there must be punishment. Sir, I de- 
clare as I hope mine own salvation, if we commit 
him to death I would rather be himself than one of 
us. If God had determined his death would He 



440 COLONEL GREATHEART 

have moved the man to repentance? Of a surety he 
was granted repentance that he might have time to 
work the works of repentance. He is overgood a 
soldier of God to send to death. Do I say then he 
shall have no punishment? Nay, truly. He hath not 
sinned unto God alone, but unto men and unto men 
he must atone. . . . He may not command in the 
army of the Lord till he hath purged his offense. 
This is my sentence then : He shall be taken from his 
office and made a common soldier; ay, and upon 
hard service. Let him be sent to Colonel Monck to 
the Welsh war. There by the grace of God he shall 
approve himself. It's an easy sentence ? It's a light 
punishment? Nay, speak not so foolishly. What's 
death to him? He hath made his peace with God 
and in death finds all his hope. Life is the doom, 
life wherein he must serve God in warring with sin, 
where temptations crowd upon him all day, and that 
old serpent lies waiting for his weakest hours, life 
that is the trial wherewith he shall be tried anew. I 
sentence him to life. So may God do His will. 
That's best." 

The good Desborough was forward to second him, 
and Harrison cried out: "This is the naked sim- 
plicity of Christ," 

"I will not deny it," quoth Fleetwood. "Let the 
Lord be judge." 

Lambert shrugged. "It is your way, not mine. 
I'll take it for your account." 



THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL SPEAKS 44i 

"O, John Lambert, John Lambert," cried Crom- 
well, "it's not I that shall answer for your sentence." 

"So be it!" said Lambert in a moment 

The others followed, though you would not guess 
Ireton well pleased. "I am out of all this," grunted 
Skippon. "I am a soldier." 

Fairfax turned to Cromwell. "You have gone 
something beyond me, sir, but I'll not deny you. Let 
him live and God help him. Do you choose to 
charge him? I do not see my part in it." 

"Nay, sir, nay," said Cromwell hastily; "this is 
your office." 

"Well. Have him in." 

Royston came erect, unashamed. Fairfax met 
eyes as fearless as his own. "Colonel Royston, you 
have convicted yourself of a vile treason. It is the 
sentence of the court that you shall be stripped of 
your rank and all your honor and serve as a com- 
mon soldier. You will go under guard to Colonel 
Monck and be at his orders." 

Royston was plainly amazed. Then all his 
strength was shaken. He fought hard to command 
himself. "I — I do not know that I should thank 
you," he said hoarsely. "But I thank you." So with 
his head fallen on his breast, he went out to make 
his life anew. 

When the Puritan fervor had burned itself out, 
when Monck felt the time come to change sides and 
strike for Charles II, there was chief among his 



442 COLONEL GREATHEART 

aides a Colonel Royston. You can trace him very 
active and adroit in the underground work of the 
Restoration. In the rotten government that came, in 
that foul court, you hear of a Sir George Royston 
very prosperous. And if ever you come upon Lely's 
portrait of him you see a strong man, sated and 
weary, who rated life low. 



CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE 

THE LAST INSPIRATION OF LUCINDA 

T UCINDA sat in the twilight There was not a 
-■ — ' nerve of her at rest. Her bosom beat a broken 
melody. Her hands were at work with her rings 
and her chain. She changed her cushions and her 
posture each moment. Royston tarried too long. 
She had no fear for him. Though he failed her, she 
had never doubted of the final victory of his 
brutal strength and adroitness. She feared him too 
much. But she was hungry for certain tidings of 
the other's fate. To be sure of his death — that was 
the best thing life could give. So she might quench 
her hopeless yearning, win freedom again, be again 
the mistress of her own body and mind and use their 
old delights. She hated him as a prisoner his bonds. 
He dared impose himself upon her passion and 
chain her with regrets. His death must be no mere 
revenge, though that were sweet, but release, full 
freedom of all herself. She could not dream of love 
reaching beyond the grave. 

While she fretted there, sudden, silent, a man 
stood before her. Colonel StrozzI saluted with a 
grin. 

443 



444 COLONEL GREATHEART 

She lay back on her cushions still and quite calm. 
"You are bold," she said. "I think you do not know 
Colonel Royston." And she laughed. "Good sir, 
he will get you hanged as lightly as I breathe." 

Colonel Strozzi continued to smile. "There was 
some little matter of a contract, madame," he sug- 
gested. "And for hanging, why not he as well 
as I ?" 

Lucinda shrugged daintily. "Faith, I know not, 
nor care.** 

* Strozzi came a step nearer. "Be sure, madame, 
that you will not laugh at me." 

"You are more amusing than you suppose, my 
poor friend." 

"Yes, you have cheated me neatly. It is admitted. 
And now the last act begins. Last night your bel 
ami, George Royston, sustained the attack of the 
Palatine. I hear his dispositions were most soldier- 
ly. In fine, he shone resplendent. But there was a 
contract, Madame I'Amoureuse, and this is not what 
he was paid for." 

"Blame yourself for your own folly," cried Lu- 
cinda. "You were given your chance at the generals 
and you blundered it." 

"That is another hare, my dear," said Strozzi 
pleasantly. "I choose to run down the first. There 
were certain moneys paid. I am not used to pay 
for nothing and I do not like it. The position, 
sweetheart, Is this: George Royston has played 
double with me and it is a liberty I do not permit. 



THE LAST INSPIRATION 445 

He will convey back the money he had or I will con- 
vey the whole story to the generals." 

"And so get yourself hanged !" Lucinda laughed. 
"Yes, sir, I believe that." 

Strozzi smiled at her. "You do not understand 
me, my dear. I resent being cheated. It is true 
that I may get myself in some danger. I shall not 
care, if I cry quits with that dear Royston. Believe 
me, my love, I shall. If he will surrender, the better 
for him. If not," Strozzi's amiable smile broad- 
ened, "the more pleasure for me. Shall we hang to- 
gether, dear? Zip! La, la, la, la!" He made the 
sound of the jerking rope and danced a grotesque 
parody of the writhing body. 

Lucinda watched, very still. "Why are you so 
bitter against him ?" she said. "It was not he, it was 
Colonel Stow that spoiled your plan." 

Strozzi's smile was swiftly gone. His eyes 
gleamed hate. "Another of your damned lovers!" 
he s,aid. "Your desires are too general, mistress." 
Then he laughed again. "Well, he is paid. Fat 
Tom broke his skull in before the lobsters came." 

"You fool," said Lucinda quietly ; "they have him 
here alive." 

Strozzi spat a hissing Italian oath. "But you lie!" 
he cried. He gripped her neck and turned her face 
roughly to what light there was. "Do you not lie, 
strumpet?" 

While their eyes fought there was the sound of 
footsteps in the flagged passage below and a voice : 



446 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Mistress Royston! Mistress Royston! Is she 
within?" 

Lucinda started up. "It is Ireton!" she said in a 
swift whisper, and flung open the door of her bed- 
room. "Go in, go in !" 

"Into the holy of holies?" Strozzi sneered as he 
went. 

Then she threw herself upon the cushions again 
and composed herself with much grace. But her 
bosom was wild and the heavy foot on the stair mad- 
dened her with its delay. 

It was Ireton. He bowed to her with a grave re- 
spect. "I come on a sad errand, madame. Pray, be- 
lieve my regret." 

"Why, you talk riddles, sir!" 

"The answer is short enough, madame. Your hus- 
band has lately confessed to a horrible treason." 

"Confessed !" 

Ireton looked at her curiously. "Ay, madame; 
finding a friend of his, a Colonel Stow, of the King's 
army, in danger by his offense, he confessed all to 
the generals in council." 

There was silence a moment. Lucinda drew a 
long breath. "Sure, that is mighty noble in him," 
she said in a low voice. "But, pray, what had he to 
confess ?" 

"Madame, you have heard that a wicked attack 
was made upon the generals last night. At noon a 
court was held to try a prisoner, this Colonel Stow, 
for his share in it. He told an honest tale, but be- 



THE LAST INSPIRATION 447 

cause he would not say what he knew of the guilty, 
was much in danger, was like to suffer. Then, moved 
by his peril, Colonel Royston did confess all. That 
himself w,as a leader in this devilish design, having 
sold himself to one Strozzi, an Italian, to procure the 
generals' murder." 

"O, sir, what mighty villainy Is this!" (Ireton 
did not understand her tone.) "Yea, and in the very 
camp of the godly !" 

'T — I feel for your shame," said Ireton. 

"You are most gracious." 

"'Tis at least some pleasure to add that the court 
found room for mercy. It was held that Colonel 
Royston's honorable confession did absolve him 
from the common doom of traitors. Only his com- 
mand is taken from him ; he is to fight in the ranks." 

"This is mercy indeed," said Luclnda In a low 
voice. 

Ireton, peering at her through the gloom, could 
see that she sat at her ease, still and unshaken by 
any sorrow. "I would say only this beside: If I 
can serve you In your present need, madame, I 
would desire it." 

He waited a while. She answered nothing. He 
made his bow and left her. She was much of a puz- 
zle to him, but since his own taste was for a daugh- 
ter of Cromwell, she occupied him little. 

In what torment he left her you may guess. If 
pain In another be the due of pain, Colonel Stow's 
griefs were well avenged. This last blow smote 



448 COLONEL GREATHEART 

most bitterly. It was enough that he should bring 
to nothing her scheme of grandeur. To win back 
the friend she had stolen from him — he could have 
dealt no cruder wound. She knew shame. Each 
hour that she made herself the plaything of Roy- 
ston's desires came back to sting her pride. He cared 
no more than she. She had given her all and at the 
first chance he turned back from her to his friend. 
They made of her a wanton of the camp. The sweat 
was on her brow and she trembled. Truly he had 
his revenge. He kept his own honor, he kept his 
friend's love. Ay, she had won that friend to her 
husband, but he made the very victory pain. She 
was left to a common soldier that loathed her. She 
moaned under the lash. 

It was not of her nature to try the past again, to 
seek how she had been in fault or hold herself to 
blame. She was a creature of passion and uncon- 
querable will. Now the pain lashed her into sharper 
hate. She gathered herself together and crouched 
upon the cushions like a wild beast waiting to 
spring. . . . 

So Strozzi found her. He tapped her shoulder 
before she saw him. 

"You heard?" she said hoarsely. 

"It seems the bel ami has cheated me again." 

"He! What does he matter? He is but a fool. 
'Tis the other has beaten you — this cursed Colonel 
Stow. Do you not see?" 

"I see," said Strozzi. 



THE LAST INSPIRATION 449 

"Well! 'Tis he is our ruin. He spoils all and 
gains by it. They acquit him; they honor him; 
these fools. Are you a man? Do you dare?" 

"Do not be afraid," said Strozzi. 

She started up. "Do you need anything? Are 
you equipped?" 

Strozzi laughed. 



CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO 

LUCINDA GOES OUT TO THE NIGHT 

LUCINDA stole out. Night lay heavy and dark 
and the broad street was still. The New Model 
army suffered no roysterers nor loungers. But it 
was early yet and many a window shone with home- 
ly light. 

She had her plan. Ireton had been amiable. A 
pathetic tale to Ireton would doubtless find out 
where Colonel Stow might be. But she had no need 
of it In an upper room, his face sharp outlined be- 
tween her and the light, she saw the face that 
haunted her. She shrank back into the shadow, gaz- 
ing with greedy eyes. Ay, it was he. The clear peal 
of his laughter came through the open casement and 
she shuddered. That was his brother at the foot of 
the table and by his right hand, smiling, demure — 
you may fancy the words Lucinda found for her — 
Joan Normandy. Hate spurred her shamed heart 
anew. She heard the pleasant, happy nothings of 
intimate talk and sped away like a ghost frightened 
of human things. He dared — he dared be happy ! 

To that dark chamber where Strozzi waited she 
came breathless. Only a plump gentleman strolling 

450 



LUCINCA GOES OUT TO THE NIGHT 451 

with a contemplative evening pipe had marked her 
flitting. "I have found him. He is with his brother. 
Close by the Grammar School. I saw him through 
the lighted window." 

"So." Strozzi gathered his cloak. "That suf- 
fices." 

"What will you do?" 

"Quien sabe? I shall not lose him. Good-by, 
my dear." He took her by the shoulders. "You 
ought to have been mine, you know. I'll try a taste 
of you." He caught her to him and kissed her at his 
will, laughing at the struggle of instinct. "Yes, you 
have all the tricks. So now, sweetheart, you had 
best know no more of me. My love to the next man." 
And he was gone, but Lucinda followed. 

He had hardly found the shadow of a dark entry 
when she was beside him. He muttered a foul Ital- 
ian proverb in her ear and translated with a chuckle. 
But she hardly heard. Her mind was set on those 
happy people in the light. All that had gone before 
was easy to bear against that . . . Envy and 
covetousness of sex and fierce mad hate, made hell 
of her heart. 

At last the happy folk were moving. They passed 
from the lighted room. Colonel Strozzi lounged 
across the road, wholly at ease, and Lucinda sped 
after him. The door opened and David Stow stood 
on the threshold looking out. He drew back and 
Joan Normandy came, little, gray-cloaked. Then 
Colonel Stow. Strozzi saw and darted forward 



452 COLONEL GREATHEART 

with swift, silent strides, his sword bare, hidden be- 
hind him. The door was shut. Joan put her hand 
in Colonel Stow's arm and they walked on into the 
dark. Strozzi sped on and Lucinda followed him 
close. 

Even as they passed the door it opened again and 
Alcibiade came out with a cry: "On guard!" and 
bounded after Strozzi. 

Colonel Stow flung Joan Normandy on and 
sprang round, plucking at his sword. But Lucinda 
cast herself on him, pinioning his arm and Strozzi 
thrust at his heart. The blade sped through Lu- 
cinda's side and breast and as Strozzi went down 
with his spine stabbed asunder and Alcibiade upon 
him, Lucinda swayed heavily, and her blood ran 
down upon Colonel Stow. 

He held her away from him, peering where the 
steel was set in her, but she hung lifeless in his 
arms. 

Joan came to him, crying wildly, "Are you hurt? 
Are you hurt?" 

"Nay, not I," said Colonel Stow. 

She saw Lucinda's face and gave a strange, pas- 
sionate cry. "She! She saved you !" 

David Stow was beside him now and Alcibiade 
was up and many a man hurrying. 

Colonel Stow laid Lucinda down and drew off 
his cloak and covered her. "Yes. She saved me,'* 
he said. 

It was over. 



CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE • 

COLONEL STOW KNOWS HIMSELF 

WAKING late, after a great payment of over- 
due sleep, Colonel Stow went to the window 
in his brother's bedgown. The morning mists were 
gone. Red roof and mellowing tree stood sharp in 
the sunlight and the grass was a carpet of jewels. 
Much had passed with the night. He rested in a 
strange peace, yet hardly dared permit himself 
rest. 

It was Matthieu-Marc beside him with a tray. 
"Zounds, the Evangelist!" Matthieu-Marc beamed. 
"How came you here?" 

Matthieu-Marc groaned. 

"Sir," says he, recovering himself, "I could not 
believe you would have the heart to eat anything un- 
less I cooked it." 

"Faith, Matthieu," quoth Colonel Stow, taking 
him by the shoulder, "you serve me mightily better 
than I serve you." 

"Now, that is what I complain of," said Mat- 
thieu-Marc peevishly. "You always forget your 
place. And the truth is I came here because of a 

453 



454 COLONEL GREATHEART 

comely maiden, a demoiselle of honor, who sur- 
passes her sex, and wants to marry me. Alas ! Her 
one fault, sir. The fly in the ointment." 

And Matthieu-Marc told his tale and Colonel 
Stow ate his breakfast . 

In the shadow of the church where she was wed 
they made Lucinda's grave and she lay at rest with 
roses on her brow. Royston came, but the grave 
was between him and Colonel Stow. There was no 
word spoken, for no help lay in words. Royston 
guessed the truth. But to all others Lucinda died 
in honor. The thing was plain. Strozzi was the 
villain. In a rage of revenge for his failure, he had 
broken into Lucinda's lodging, seeking Royston's 
blood. Balked in that, he bethought him of Colonel 
Stow, but Lucinda had divined his intent anl fol- 
lowed and paid her husband's treason with her life. 
Strozzi was flung to a nameless hole in the fields, 
and over her they set a white stone. True, noble 
heart ! 

You may fancy Strozzi in that world beyond the 
grave with his natural smile . . 

Before the army marched, Fairfax desired Colonel 
Stow to wait on him, and Colonel Stow, obedient, 
found him with Ireton — a pair not often coupled. 
The truth is, doubtless, that each in his. own way — 
Fairfax a frank, soldierly Christian with no taste 
for exuberant religion and a strain of reckless chiv- 
alry; Ireton who loved the extremes of his own 
faith not much better than the high Cavaliers and 



COLONEL STOW KNOWS HIMSELF 455 

was feeling already for a band of moderate, prac- 
tical men — they felt in Colonel Stow a kinship. 

Fairfax welcomed him heartily like a proved 
friend; Ireton put on a reasonable gaiety, and Colo- 
nel Stow found himself comparing their ease with 
the swashbuckler manners of Rupert and the dreary 
haughtiness of the King. There was something, yet 
not too much of thanks. Then Ireton, "Since we're 
frank, sir, I have wondered more than a little what 
took you to the side of the King." 

"Sir, I must allow you to wonder." 

"Well, I have never been of those who see no rea- 
son of his party. But I think it has been plain for 
long there is no hope of fair dealing in him." 

"You are fighting for that opinion, sir." 

Fairfax broke out. "We have nothing to hide, sir. 
Why should you? Can you fight for the King 
again?" 

Colonel Stow hesitated. But he knew there was 
no reason. He was for ever done with that cause. 
"I shall not, sir," he said deliberately. 

"I thank God for it," cried Fairfax. 

"You are in the right," said Ireton. "Sir, it's 
not you desert the cause, but the cause deserts you. 
There's no place in it now for honest men. The past 
is past. The only hope for England now Is in us. 
We can bring back the law and peace and strength. 
Is it worth fighting for? Older friends of the King 
than you have thought so." 

"In fine, sir, will you join us?" cried Fairfax. 



456 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Colonel Stow did not answer. Something in this 
kind he had foreseen, but he was not ready for it. 

"We owe you no less than a place of some honor," 
said Ireton softly. 

Fairfax made a sound of disdain. "Sir, you've 
shown us that no cause could bind you to dishonor. 
There's a matter above the King's cause or ours — 
the commonweal of England. Only our victory 
can serve that. If the King were another — I do 
not say, and it's no matter. Now who fights for 
England fights for us." Still Colonel Stow did not 
answer. "Why, do you doubt of it?" cried Fairfax 
impatient. 

Colonel Stow looked up. "No, sir, not that." 

"What is it then?" Fairfax beat on the table. 
"Speak out, man." 

"There is a majority and the first regiment," said 
Ireton, "if all goes well." 

Fairfax stood up. "Well, take your time. Let 
us hear from you to-night." 

"I thank you heartily," said Colonel Stow, and 
went out. 

He was tempted. A regiment In the best army 
of the world was a splendid prize for his heart. 
He loved his trade and here was the finest chance 
to work at it a man could hope. He saw a new 
fortune given him, another life. He might yet re- 
deem his hopes. Old dreams rose again imperious 
and splendid. How could he dare deny them? It 
was to play the coward, to fail himself. If he had 



COLONEL STOW KNOWS HLMSELF 457 

faith in his own manhood, he must challenge fate 
again. What occasion so fair? Surely he could find 
no way of life so happy. The chance and strain of 
war, that was very Heaven to his eager temper and 
swift mind. Ay, on all counts the prize was good. 
But he longed for it too much to grasp it hastily. 

Out beyond the town on the level road, through 
the smiling, golden corn, he went, gazing at the 
sky in thought. Indeed, this fell the very matter of 
his own desire. He was hungry to prove himself 
greater than the chain of defeat and plot, to charge 
again in victory. The old boyish love of flashing 
deeds rose in him. If he did so much with that 
rabble of a regiment, in that welter of folly with 
tlae King, what might he achieve now? He was the 
better soldier by two campaigns, by a new skill in 
licdge-row and highway fighting. He permitted 
himself joyful vistas of triumph. Fairfax should 
have a good bargain. 

He halted. Why not? What hindered? He was 
his own man. He owed nothing to the King. His 
loyalty was freed when he was cast into the gloom 
of Bocardo. No man could condemn him. He had 
no faintest censure for himself. Yet he faltered. 
There was a doubt, a doubt that rose stronger and 
stronger the more he desired. Once before he had 
chosen a cause for which he had no faith. He told 
himself that this was mightily different. It was cer- 
tain, to any soldier it was certain as day and night, 
that the Puritans would conquer. Was that enough ? 



458 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Against his will he knew that he had no more faith 
in Puritan than King. He could not hold their 
creed. He could not believe that Englishmen would 
bend to their over-saintly rule. He saw no peace in 
their victory. 

Half angry with himself for a scrupulous fool 
(that must needs be wiser than the men of his day, 
half sad, he drove himself to confess that he was 
made for neither cause. He could not believe in the 
King; he could not believe in the Puritan; was it 
so much matter? He was a plain soldier. Nay, but 
fighting for a cause he could not hold, he had gone 
too near shame to venture honor again. What then 
remained? Go back to the corn and the cattle, live 
for the plow. He gave a doleful sigh. 

Surely a man had a right to risk something rather 
than face that vegetable life. H he ventured honor, 
why there was something not base in the venture. 
And while he let the vision of triumph come again, 
he found himself looking into the maiden honesty 
of Joan's eyes. Well, and what of her? She had 
some right to command him, and she would desire 
him take her cause. If he dared hope for her be- 
neath his heart, sure he must consent to fight for 
her. That was bare manhood. Nay, what welcome 
would she have for him else? If he denied her, if 
he refused her, he knew she would bid him go. 
She, too, v/ent with the prize. He was tempted. 

He had come near the place where he had seen 
her first. The low thatched houses of Chinnor were 



COLONEL STOW KNOWS HIMSELF 459 

close and above them the beech woods, golden and 
gray, rose in one close army to the white edge of the 
sky. He remembered it all. His own gay blood 
and her passion of righteousness. . . . Ay, he 
needed her. All the eager strength in him longed 
for her purity. . . . Sure, there was nothing j 
else in the world made a man so glad of himself as 
such maidenhood. . . . He might take her if 
he would swear her faith. Take her and all else 
that he wanted still. . . . 



CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR 

COLONEL STOW EXPLAINS HIMSELF 

T TIS brother was waiting for him in plain impa- 
•*• -*- tience. Colonel Stow had nothing to say. 
"The General was to make you an offer, I have 
heard." 

"I have answered it," said Colonel Stow. 

"Well?" 

"In the morning I go home." He looked up and 
saw his brother's face. "I am sorry, lad." 

David Stow sighed. "You are still against us, 
then?" 

"Nay, not that either. I think I was born out 
of time. I can find no faith that fits my soul, nor 
no cause that I dare fight for. And so," he gave a 
whimsical smile, "and so I will e'en go into my cor- 
ner and cry like a child because the world has no 
room for me." 

"I would to God that you were one of us," said 
David Stow passionately. 

"And I would thank God for your heart that I 
might be. Lad, lad, do I not yearn to be all of 
your cause? There's a thousand desires bid me join 

460 



COLONEL STOW EXPLAINS HIMSELF 461 

you, and one — above all. Well ! Each has his own 
soul to work out," 

"Unto the glory of God!" 

"Ay, unto the glory of God," Colonel Stow re- 
peated. "Forgive me, lad. I can not find my work 
in your faith. I can see no fruit in your hopes. 
The England you would make is no place for com- 
mon men. You put your trust in a people of 
saints — " 

"The Kingdom of God upon earth !" cried David 
Stow. "And do you not pray 'Thy Kingdom 
come!'" He pleaded his creed with a passionate 
strength. They would beat prelate and King, and 
each man should be free and use his freedom to do 
the will of God. England should be a land of 
stern labor and passionate worship, with no thought 
of other matter. Ay, and not England only. The 
hour had come for a new crusade. The army of 
the saints must go forth into all the earth and con- 
quer all for God. 

Colonel Stow listened and his face grew sad. 
"God help you!" he said slowly. "O, lad, we are 
not all Cromwells. Who else could work such 
dreams as these? We have to work for human 
men." 

Again the brother pleaded with him in the zeal of 
his religion, quickened by honest love. Plainly 
their cause was conquering. God made ready His 
kingdom. The saints should triumph and multiply 
and subdue all things unto them. In flashes of 



462 COLONEL GREATHEART 

strange power he showed a quaint picture of a Puri- 
tan England, a Puritan world, behold the will of 
God incarnate. 

Colonel Stow shook his head. "How much would 
I give to believe it?" he said with a bitter smile. 
"I tell you I have tried all my strength to-day to 
persuade myself into it Ay, came near to cheat 
my own soul." 

His brother was silent. They changed a glance 
of understanding and lingered together a long 
while. . . . "Well ! I have a good-by to say," 
said Colonel Stow. 

"I am sorry," his brother said. "I am sorry.'* 

At the gate of the hospital Colonel Stow asked 
for Mistress Normandy, and being admitted, cross- 
ing the pleasant turf of the close, he found her. She 
awaited him, still and very pale. She seemed to 
have lost something of her charm. He had never 
seen her afraid before. 

"I come to bid you farewell, madame," said Colo- 
nel Stow. 

"I — I have heard the army marches," 

"I go home." 

He would not look at her. He heard the murmur 
of bees among the honeysuckle. The wind stirred 
lightly in the tree-tops and a faded leaf fluttered 
slowly by. "O . . . I was told the general 
would give you a command." 

"He honored me so. I find that I can not fight 
for him." 



COLONEL STOW EXPLAINS HIMSELF 463 

She drew in her breath. "You are still for the 
King?" 

"Nor that either. Faith, madame, I am a weak- 
ling that can take no side heartily, and so slink off." 

"You are done with fighting?" she said quickly. 

Colonel Stow gave a grim laugh. "O, ay, the 
sword is a plowshare now and I walk in the furrow. 
I have done." 

"Why, why, then, you will be — quite safe — al- 
ways," she said in a low voice. 

Colonel Stow laughed. "O, yes, I preserve my- 
self. That's vastly pleasant." 

"There may be work for you." 

"Ay, with the cattle." 

"I did not mean to hurt you," she said, and her 
lip quivered. 

"Forgive me, child. I know your heart can not 
live with sneers. You have been the sweetest thing 
in my life. Believe me, I have longed to fight for 
you. But I can not dare. Your faith is not for me. 
So here's an end. God keep you." He held out his 
hand. 

Her eyes sought his bravely. Blood stole back to 
her cheeks. "You are in haste," she said. 

"There's no more use in words." 

"So they must all be yours?" 

Colonel Stow allowed himself a melancholy smile. 
She too would be pleading, then ; well, he had con- 
quered his own longing. "I am your servant," he 
said with plain regret. 



464 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Had you thought I might want to make an end, 
too?" she said with something of a shy laugh in her 
eyes. "Not this one?" 

"Madame, I would to God that it might be!" 
said Colonel Stow miserably. "I have used all my 
strength to be like you," 

"Oh !" She was plainly surprised. "I would not 
desire that." 

"I can not be of your army, of your cause, of your 
faith." 

She considered him with eyes grave as his own. 
"Perhaps you did not desire." 

"We'll not talk of that," said Colonel Stow, and 
avoided her eyes. 

Her sigh was something weary. "I do not think 
God would have every man alike," she said. "And, 
truly, all can not come to Him by the same way. 
. . . But, surely, it needs not that they should 
hate each other?" 

"I shall honor you all my life, child," said Colonel 
Stow. She frowned a little and the wide eyes were 
troubled. "One does not seek that — that another — 
should be just as oneself." And on a sudden she 
^was all trembling. "H — if one were let serve and — 
he cared to help — " 

Colonel Stow woke at last. He snatched at her 
hands and drew her close. As her breast touched 
his she was still again. He looked down into her 
shining eyes. She did not deny him, but her cheeks 
were crimson. "It's for me, child?" he said hoarsely. 



COLONEL STOW EXPLAINS HIMSELF 465 

But she cried out, she started away. "Ah, no, no ! 
Not unless you need me utterly, unless I bring you 
life." He smiled a little. "You are not sure and 
we must not," she cried in a piteous voice. "Unless 
you are bidden, unless you can no other, I had 
rather die." 

"I have been fighting my heart all day, child," 
said Colonel Stow. "It's the want of you bade me 
take the general's commission. I have almost fan- 
cied myself Puritan, by Heaven. I have all but 
played my own soul false, for fear of losing you." 

"You !" she said in a low voice of a mother's 
scorn, and looked at him most lovely, smiling 
through tears, worshipping. 

"It was you gave mc desire of life again. It's 
no worth, child, if you'll not give me life, too — 
yourself — yourself." 

She let him draw her close and he held her and 
she bowed her head on his breast. . . . She 
was still and silent a long time, then looked up with 
a little, quaint smile. "You want me so?" 

"I want life and the work of life. I can not find 
it without you." 

"So. It is so," she murmured, and her arms 
stole about him. 



CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE 

THE MASTER OF ALL 

' I "^HE homestead at Broadfields welcomed them 
-*- again. It was an afternoon of sunshine when 
Alcibiade found Molly behind a cow with melan- 
choly. He accused her of it. 

"You are jealous," said Molly, "because I am 
going to be a bride." 

"I can certainly never be that," said Alcibiade 
with a sigh. "Would that I could for your sake." 

"And I was thinking," Molly continued, "of my 
duty to him." 

"Poor wretch," said Alcibiade, and left her to it. 

He found Matthieu-Marc with melancholy in the 
rickyard. He praised domestic bliss. 

Matthieu-Marc exploded. "I adore it, do you 
understand? I adore it. What more do you want?" 

"It is very gentlemanly of you, my dear," said 
Alcibiade. 

Matthieu-Marc snorted for some time and then 
became pensive. "Any man that is a man would sell 
his boots to be her husband. That is true. The 
cook told me so. She told me so many times. She 
is no artist either as a cook or otherwise. But I — I 

466 



THE MASTER OF ALL 467 

do not even have to sell my boots. Why do you 
think she wants to be my wife?" 

"My poor friend!" Alclbiade remonstrated with 
such modesty. "Every woman who sees you must 
want." 

"But that will be very embarrassing afterwards," 
said Matthieu-Marc. 

"Marriage," said Alcibiade, "is a proof of faith, 
a test of love and an opportunity for charity. But 
the greatest of these is charity." 

"Charity," said Matthieu-Marc, "suffereth much. 
And is blind. I have such good eyes." 

"Believe me," said Alcibiade, "they are nothing 
to hers." 

"The more I think of it," said Matthieu-Marc 
with decision, "the less I understand it." 

" 'Tis the right mark of a husband," Alcibiade 
assured him. 

At which point Molly, who had been observing 
them for some time, arrived. "My dear!" she 
cried, holding out her arms to Matthieu-Marc. 

"Precisely," said Alcibiade and accepted her. 

Matthieu-Marc swore in joyful French. 

But Molly was trembling and crying a little. 
"Fie," said Alcibiade. "Remember that you are a 
bride." 

" 'Tis more than you deserve, indeed," said Molly 
to his shoulder. 

"You may say the same of every man alive. We 
are all born innocent. Some escape punishment." 



468 COLONEL GREATHEART 

Molly laughed down at Matthieu-Marc. "It is 
his folly, you know, that makes me feel safe with 
him." 

Matthieu-Marc began to sing a love song with 
fervor. 

Thereby attracted, Mr. Stow came across the rick- 
yard and found Alcibiade with Molly in an ambigu- 
ous position. "Why, my lass," quoth he with a 
chuckle, "I thought you had made a mistake." 

"If you please, sir, I neyer did," said Molly. 

It was a day of harvest. The sky lay cloudless 
and lucid, but pale and on the near horizon pearly 
gray. All the air was still and heavy with ripe 
fragrance and the cornfield laughed through a gold- 
en haze. On the orchard bank, in among the mar- 
joram, Colonel Stow lay and contemplated the 
world. He was little used to the occupation and it 
irked, but the contemplative life was plainly his por- 
tion, and he set himself to it without pity. Truly 
his lines were fallen in pleasant places. The great 
homestead, all crimson and orange, the rich lands 
of the vale, golden brown to harvest, they were good 
to see and sure warrant of comfortable days. Ease 
— it was doubtless something to give thanks for, but 
hardly the best a man could desire. He looked away 
to the hills. Vast in the haze and far they stood, 
like power incarnate, towering with bluff shoulders, 
stern and dark and bare, above the sweets of har- 
vest. Ay, to them his soul was akin. He wanted 
the hard life of power, to breath the roaring wind 



THE MASTER OF ALL 469 

of fight and break the crash of the storm. The de- 
light of straining strength was Heaven to him. He 
was granted the life of the vale. 

Well ! One could take it with a smile. One would 
not employ lamentations, for one was already suf- 
ficiently ridiculous. A gentleman who could find 
nothing to fight for was plainly too good for this 
world, like the white pigs one killed before they 
were weaned. But it was curious. He had not 
been wont to think himself so superfine. He pro- 
tested to his conscience he was even as other men 
and wholly a man of his day, yet plainly there was 
no cause in it to content him. More thought brought 
no change of purpose. He was ever the more as- 
sured he had done well to draw back. Ay, every 
hour he was less Cavalier and less Puritan. He 
would whistle King and Bishop down the wind for 
a free man's right to his own mind, and for that 
same right laugh at all the savory vessels of Puritan 
sainthood. He was confirmed in a zeal of modera- 
tion. But that was no standard to rally battalions, 
no cause for his England. Doubtless a day might 
come when the land might be weary of either faith, 
but there was no herald of it yet, and the daisies 
would be a-flower on his grave before it dawned. He 
who had prided himself that he was not a man of 
to-morrow! It was certainly painful to be at odds 
with his own day. 

And still one might take it with a smile. He owed 
her that. Such as she quelled all the regret of broken 



470 COLONEL GREATHEART 

hopes and deeds unachieved. Upon her heart he 
knew the pure gladness of living, the joy of life be- 
cause it is life, the most wonderful of all a man 
knows or feels. She with her dower of purity and 
quick womanhood — what more dare a man ask of 
God? . . . 

Ay, truly, in the days of dreams there had been 
wild hours of throbbing delight. They could not 
fade. God save her ! God who gave her into a 
troublous world with little help. God forgive a 
man who failed. Well. It was done. . . . 

But there was no reckoning between those hours 
and the new life. Peace had come, not of weariness 
or sleep, but that perfect peace of the freedom of 
strength. She needed all and gave all in utter 
faith, and that became the very life of life. Surely 
with her there must be joy and the quiet mind to 
the end. The end? Nay, there could be no end to 
this. The life he lived with her could not die when 
their bodies were wearied out. That was the great- 
est in all her gifts. Of old death had been but 
death to him ; no matter to fear, indeed ; rather the 
bitter herb that gave life keen savor ; but still at the 
last life's poison. Now, It was something kindly 
and welcome in its hour. When death's task was 
done, the life she had made must rise at last in the 
perfect union which the world's way would not suf- 
fer. ... 

He turned to see Joan standing with the sunlight 
on her bosom and her, face laughing from the 



THE MASTER OF ALL 4/1 

shadow. Truly the world's way was good. Colonel 
Stow resigned the contemplative life. 

She was in his arms beyond hope, all fragrant, 
delicately panting, with dark roses in her cheeks, 
when behold one the noise of whose roaring went 
before him. It was a small, sturdy child, who can- 
tered upon fat legs, wielding a lance of hollyhock. 

"Sir," said Colonel Stow, "who are you?" 

"I am St. George," said the child, "and you are 
the dwagon." On which beast he then howled havoc 
with saintly zeal. Colonel Stow exhibited a decent 
terror. But in the very moment of tidy slaughter 
St. George detected an impropriety. "What is that 
lady?" he said in cold reproof. 

"Sir," said Colonel Stow, "she is the dragon's 
wife." 

"You did not ought to have one at all," said St. 
George. "I shall take her wight away." 

At which the dragon wept, 

"That is silly," said St. George. "You ought to 
wear." 

And straightway the dragon ran at him roaring 
and St. George fled with joyful screams, but re- 
turning smote the dragon a mortal thrust in the 
region of the lower shin, so that he sat upon the or- 
chard bank and gave up the ghost in very delectable 
groans. "Antony Jewemiah Higgs," said he, "you 
have been the death of me. Which I think unkind." 

"But I have bwoke my lance," said Antony Jewe- 
miah Higgs. "Make me anuvver." 



472 COLONEL GREATHEART 

"Sir, you are unreasonable," said the dead 
dragon. 

"But I want it," said Antony Jewemiah Higg-s, 
preserving the absolute calm of monarchial minds. 

"That is certainly a reason," said the dead dragon 
and came to life. 

"I," said Antony Jewemiah Higgs plaintively, "I 
am not allowed to cut fings out of the hedge," and 
he looked with intent at Colonel Stow. 

"But I am," said Colonel Stow, "so you see the 
use of keeping dragons about you." 

"I will not kill you again to-day," said Antony 
generously. 

"It is a consideration. Lead on!" said Colonel 
Stow. And Antony Jewemiah bounded away. But 
Colonel Stow lingered to draw Joan to his side. 
Slowly they went, smiling at the child, silent. Joan 
blushed, and, yielding all herself to Colonel Stow's 
insistent arm, was held very close. She let her fair 
head lie upon his breast. She trembled. 



THE END 



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